A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Gauntlet

Because I’m such an expert on love, I’ve written about my undying love for my favorite sentient computer program, and how grateful I am for the love of friends.  But when it comes to romantic life, this old newspaper comic pretty much sums up the dating scene for me:

I have nothing against love, let me make that clear.  I am not the bitter feminist strawman (strawwoman?) who hates men or doesn’t want to get married.  True story: I do want to get married, if I can find a man both foolish enough to be bamboozled into wanting to marry me and yet not daft enough to drive me insane.  I really do want that, and would love to be a mom to boot.  What I do NOT like is the implication that unmarried people (of any age) are losers, pathetic, or somehow “less than” married people.  I feel that this is too often portrayed in pop culture AND Mormon culture.  I know my marriage status does not make me a second class citizen, yet somehow Valentine’s Day sometimes makes me feel that way.   

So, because of my confessed oversensitivity, I’ve been thinking about ways to avoid the whole day, fantasizing about doing the following:
-          Steering clear of Facebook for at least 48 hours, thus avoiding the inevitable “I love my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancé/specialsomeone/dog/cat/turtle/chia pet sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!” status updates
-          Avoiding grocery stores, flower shops, or any other place where chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards are sold for the week leading up to V-Day
-          Calling in sick and ignoring the world on February 14th

On Valentine’s Day, sometimes the path of least resistance is to feel alone, inadequate, or unloved.  So this Valentine’s Day I thought I would throw down a challenge for all you Single Ladies and Gents, to help you survive “Singles Awareness Day.”  It’s inspired by three things:
1)      This, which I found outside my door this morning:  (Thank you to whoever left the beautiful roses!)

2)      An article in the Washington Post recently about a cancer survivor asking people to do miracles for him, and
3)      Spencer W. Kimball’s quote about how God works in our lives: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”

My Challenge is this: Be someone else’s miracle today.  Do something super nice for somebody else, just because you can.  Wash your roommate’s car.  Help out a co-worker with a hard task.  Take someone to dinner.  Call up a long lost friend just to say hello.  Roll down your window and give more than you usually would to a homeless man.  Befriend a stranger (within reason, and don’t accept their candy).  Mend a relationship that is broken.  Give a genuine and well-thought-out compliment.  Show love instead of judgment when someone is struggling with a problem that you find easy.  In the spirit of this blog, find some common ground with a political opponent.

I was struck in reading M. Russell Ballard’s recent talk with this quote: 
There is one simple daily practice that can make a difference for every member of the Church.... That simple practice is: In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help.

Yes, it is quintessential Valentine’s Day Cheesiness. Yes, it will not solve the problem of being outside a romantic relationship on the one day of the year when the world around you is awash in romantic love.  BUT it hopefully lightens the load a little bit and helps you not focus on yourself.  The world is not out to get you, and other people are not in relationships just to rub in the fact that you are single.  Be happy, be (emotionally) healthy, long life!  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

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