Well…. here I am sitting in a coffee shop, listening to the sound of milk being steamed, friends talking, and quiet techno music playing above me.
If you know me, you know I am obsessed with coffee. One of my favorite things to do is try new coffee shops. There are so many in this tiny state, so I naturally have to try them all, right? As I sip on my cappuccino, I look outside and see light snow starting to fall. It’s beautiful, but suddenly it reminds me of how cold it is and I immediately start to resent the time of year.
Why is it people don’t like this time of year? Most likely it’s because of the cold, but I definitely know a lot of people who don’t like it because they are anti-Valentine’s Day. I know what you’re thinking, “how can someone hate a day of love?!” Trust me, my jaw hits the floor every time someone tells me that. I LOVE Valentine’s Day, but most people I talk to hate it! Some love the 15th because of the half priced chocolate, but hate the 14th. Some singles say it’s because they don’t have anyone to celebrate it with. Some might say it’s because it’s not a “real” holiday. Filled with cute red hearts, teddy bears, and flowers, Valentine’s Day is a bit over rated, but I can’t help loving it!
A little history lesson for you about Valentine’s Day…
St. Valentine was a priest during the Roman Empire who Claudius II, the Roman emperor, did not like. According to legend, Claudius II banned marriage, saying single men fought better in war. St. Valentine continued to perform wedding ceremonies despite the new law. Some say he died, but others say he was imprisoned for performing these marriages and fell in love with a young woman who often visited the jail (most likely the jailer’s daughter). He wrote her a love letter and signed it “with love, from your Valentine.”
If that’s not the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard, you’re lying.
Valentine’s Day will be hard this year for me because I’m 20 hours away from the people who love me. My family is my absolute world and I’m heartbroken I won’t be with them this year on February 14th. Living in a new city is exciting, but I’m struggling with a lot of things I haven’t struggled with before. My family is dealing with things they’ve never dealt with before and my heart hurts being away from them. I’m totally open with the fact that I struggle with Atypical Anorexia Nervosa and how it impacts my life. My family helps me so much through that and I’m so grateful for them. It may sound selfish, but how do I enjoy Valentine’s Day this year when the people who love me are 1,000 miles away? The answer to that is to go and love others.
In Corinthians 13, Paul talks about love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
Paul is basically saying that without love, we are nothing. Love is eternal while everything here on earth is temporary. He goes on to explain love, and how we are supposed to love. What I get from these verses is that love is so much more than over-sized teddy bears and candy hearts. God loves us when we are broken or hurting, he loves on the bad days and the good days. His love is always there.
For those who don’t know, I’m a campus ministry intern, so I work with college students every day. Some days I’m so exhausted that I question why I do my job, but then I see the smiles that happen when we make the students muffins, or I hear the laughter during a game of cards. They put so much love in my heart. I’m not just here to do a job, I’m here to love. Love the students, love the people, and love the world surrounding me. If I don’t have love, then I’m just alone in an unfamiliar state. So this Valentine’s Day, I will not be sad because I don’t have my family around loving me, but I will love. I will love the person who may not have a family, I will love the person who is having a bad day, and I will love the students around me.
So I raise my little paper cup of coffee to the students, but more importantly, they are my friends. I love each and every one of you.