Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentine's Day Ambassadors

WARNING: The first part of this post may sound like a Valentine's "Bah Humbug." That's only because it is...but bear with me while I vent about being single in a couple's world, and then I'll try to move to a more optimistic conclusion.

This is what I, rather unaffectionately, call "National Couple's Week." Valentine's Day isn't exactly a holiday that I look forward to. And it seems like every year, all the emphasis on couples and romance just grows...I can't speak for others, but as a single parent, it's pretty much a downer week for me. Turn on the radio; they're holding a contest for a weekend getaway...but only for couples. Go to church...they're selling tickets for the Valentine's banquet. Now, they don't say it's only for couples, but honestly...not really my idea of a good time to go ALONE and sit with a roomful of couples and be reminded that I am NOT part of that. Turn on the TV...stuff to buy your sweetie...unless of course, you're so lame you don't have one.

The Today show even did a piece on How to Celebrate Valentine's Day if You're Single...I confess I didn't hear the whole thing...but here's my condensed version of at least ONE of their ideas:
Go to the store and rent a nice, romantic movie...alone.
Come home and pop up some popcorn and various other goodies...alone.
Sit down and watch a movie about other people in love...alone.
I mean, come on, how lame is that?!? As if I wasn't depressed enough already about being alone, I should pretty much just rub it in my own face?!? Thanks, but I think I'll pass on that...

For me, Valentine's Day also makes me miss my dad...Dad always gave his "girls" (his wife and both daughters) Valentine's, even when we were grown and I had kids of my own...Dad would still give me a card and a heart-shaped box of chocolates...I'd give just about anything for one more box of chocolates from Dad.

Okay, so before I start to depress even people who HAVE a "significant other," maybe I'd better find a point in here somewhere. My point is really just to challenge myself, and others, to use Valentine's Day as a ministry opportunity. What a perfect opportunity, on this day that is all about Love, to share God's love with those who need it.

If you are single (whether you're divorced, never married, or widowed), you may feel like I do about Valentine's day...but how we deal with it is OUR choice. I can mope about and gripe and be in a generally bad mood all week (and believe me, I'm tempted to do just that, I really am...), or I can take my eyes off myself and look for opportunities to make it a good day for others who are also forgotten Valentines.

But, chances are, if you're reading this blog, you're NOT single...well, I have a challenge for you as well. It is certainly appropriate to spend Valentine's Day celebrating your partner, thanking them and God for the love that you have together. But don't waste the opportunity to share God's love with others who may be feeling even more alone than ever this week. If you have a single or widowed friend, do something to remind them that they are loved and valued, too!

So, here are some ideas to use to make Valentine's Day special not just for YOUR "significant other," but for those singles in your world who may need to know that they're significant too:
Take Valentine's Day cards to a nursing home, or a hospital.
Take a bouquet of flowers to a widow and ask them to share some memories of their spouse.
Do something special for a single parent--take them to a movie, or out to eat, or give them a gift certificate for a restaurant or a spa treatment, or maybe just take them some chocolate-covered strawberries and a note telling them how significant they are to you.

Remember, we are God's ambassadors, just like Cupid is the "ambassador" for Valentine's Day...we spread His message, and what better day to share His love for others than on the day that we celebrate love? Don't keep it to yourself!

If you have other ideas for making someone single feel special on Valentine's, feel free to share them!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16