Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's Valentine's Day!!!

I've never been for or against Valentine's day. If I was with someone around Feb 14 then we'd do something, if I was single then I'd still do something either by myself or with friends and family. I'm not one of those that goes neurotic if I don't have a boyfriend in Feb and I don't go off the other deep end if I do and expect who I'm with to make a fuss over the day complete with hearts/flowers/cards and what not. It's been a take it or leave it holiday for me.

It doesn't bother me that Hallmark has turned it into a big money making ordeal and it doesn't bother me that flower shops up their prices for this day or that everyone can't think outside the cliched red roses to be more original. You do what you want to do.

But this year, for some reason, I still can't figure out, I've been looking forward to it. I've put together goodie bags for my kids full of Valentine candies and odds and ends. I found some ColorWonder Markers on sale for $2 a package and coloring books for $1 so there's some crafty stuff in there too. As well as rose shaped suckers, pencils with hearts and lips on them, little stamp pads and of course valentine chocolates and stickers and little plastic drinking cups.

Before I woke them up this morning I laid out their goodie bags in the living room floor so that when they rushed in they would see them. They were excited and upturned the bags quickly.

So the kids and I spent much of the morning sitting in the floor while they picked out a treat to eat right then and to figure out how the little stamps work (Evan Grace thought you used them to color with like a crayon!)

That's when it hit me, why I was feeling different about this Valentine's day than the others. My kids are old enough to really enjoy presents, to say thank you after they open them and to be excited for what their siblings get as well. It's more than than.

I like a day devoted to love and to showing those around you that you love them. That you haven't forgotten how much they mean to you or that they are the special one in your life.

America down plays love, oh we all want it, everyone is somewhat expected to get married at some point in their life an if you're not married then who are you dating and how serious are you about the relationship? Marriage gives us hope, a sense of connection, a feeling of belonging to someone other than ourselves.

The Pastor at my church put it beautifully a few Sundays ago. Marriage is a covenant and not a commitment. I started thinking more on this during my devotions and this is just some of my ramblings on the topic. I think everyone gets married under a commitment train of thought. But the marriages that last and really make a good run are those that take that commitment and progress into a covenant with each other. What's the difference? Wikipedia defines Commitment as interaction dominated by obligations. These obligations may be mutual, or self-imposed, or explicitly stated, or may not.

Wikipedia defines covenant in it's most general sense, as a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action.
More specifically, a covenant, in contrast to a contract, is a one-way agreement whereby the covenanter is the only party bound by the promise. A covenant may have conditions and prerequisites that qualify the undertaking, including the actions of second or third parties, but there is no inherent agreement by such other parties to fulfill those requirements. Consequentially, the only party that can break a covenant is the covenanter.
Did you catch that last line, that's a pregnant statment if ever there was.
To put it plain and simple, a commitment says, this is our agreement, and if you don't live up to them or they change and I don't like them, well I may just back out of the agreement at any time and so can you.

A covenant though, This is MY agreement with you and even if the terms, if any, are not met, even if things change I'm still going to uphold my part of the covenant and agreement.

How many more marriages would survive if they got a hold of this. If each spouse would make a covenant that says, even if you're acting like a selfish jerk and I don't want to be in the same room with you right now, I'm still in agreement that you're the one for me and I'm for you and we're going to get through this? That I'm not leaving, I'm not checking out, I'm not breaking my covenant!

So maybe that's why Valentine's day has taken a different meaning for me. If we can have secretary's day, president's day, earth day and the like then why shouldn't we all enjoy a day devoted to making sure you tell those around you that you love them and are glad they are in your life.

So that's my random soapbox for the day. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, may it be filled with as much love possible.

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