My Year 2000 Valentine’s Day Rant

The following comes from an email I wrote February 13th in the year 2000 to address the many faults and problems with what is, in my opinion, the sorriest excuse for a “holiday” we celebrate. Most of this is still accurate. Parts of it were very personal.

Friends and Family,

Recently a dear friend wrote to me expressing her palpable frustration with the commercialism and tainted quality of all that today’s society celebrates as part of St. Valentines Day; and I can most certainly see where she is coming from.¬†

Today’s society glorifies sex in the extreme, making it the focus of many ungodly and impure relationships rather than the focus of building a family.

Today’s society glorifies meaningless cheap surface-level commitment relationships without the necessity of any real foundation.

For years, I have listened to people complain about St. Valentines Day because they had no one special to share it with on that particular go-round. I’ll not lie to you; some years, I was one of those people myself.

Last year, I listened to my girlfriend at the time complain what a useless Holiday it was because she hated getting useless things like chocolates and flowers and cards. I tried to explain to her that not all of us got that kind of thing for St. Valentines Day and that she shouldn’t take it for granted that people cared about her — by the way, it was a cheap, surface-level commitment relationship without any real foundation.

So now I have no girlfriend; is this cause for complaint? Is this reason for depression and whining? Am I to think I am worth less because no one is buying me a card this year? Pardon my language, but: The Hell it ain’t!!

St. Valentine was celebrated (so I’m told, thanks Audrey) for performing marriages when they were forbidden by the Roman Emperor.

Today, one out of every two marriages ending in divorce.

I’m sure most of America has forgotten this small detail, but ONCE UPON A TIME **marriage** was something built on LOVE; not convenience, not a desire not-to-be-alone anymore, not on the desire to-have-a-partner-for-sex, not a desire to-share-our-income, but on LOVE. Gosh; who can remember what THAT was like? I can, my parents are still married and still VERY much in love, and anyone who spends a single evening with both of them and can’t tell must be a tad slow.

Marriage built on LOVE; wow, what a concept; you know, once, even DATING and COURTING were also based on LOVE. Well, let someone ask me, what is this “love” that you speak of, Jason? Define “love” for us, it seems so vague.

And here I must resort as I often do to quoting Rich Mullins:

We didn’t know what love was till He came
and He gave love a face and He gave love a name
and He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun
We were looking for heroes, He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is cause He loves us
–Rich Mullins, “All the Way to Kingdom Come”

Is that the way we are accustomed to thinking of love? Because if it ISNT, then maybe just MAYBE something should change. Even if you’re not a Christian, what purer image of understanding love can there be found than in the services Christ performed for humanity?

Rich Mullins here (as he so often does) points out something not entirely obvious. At the time of Jesus, the people of God were looking for a Messianic ruler, a holy-hero-warrior, someone to overthrow the Roman Empire and lead them to glory; and in our own private lives, aren’t we looking for the same thing?

Glory in our own relationships–so often full of anger, jealousy, misunderstanding, cruelty, and selfishness. Glory in ourselves–that we can say this St. Valentines Day or that “Look how much I am loved!” by the Hallmark trappings of the Holiday. Glory in each other–such that we think first of ourselves, and then of our partners, and then MAYBE if there’s any room LEFT for God in our lives, we just might mention Him once or twice a week.

I don’t have a girlfriend this year; but let me tell all of you, that I have every reason to celebrate this holiday that I could have imagined otherwise.

I can name someone who loves me MORE than any woman ever has; more than any woman ever will, more than any woman ever could.

I can name someone who understands me better than any woman ever has; better than any woman ever will, and better than any woman ever could.

I can name someone who forgives me more than a million times faster than any woman under the sun is able, no matter how sweet she is, no matter how devoted to God; and I can name someone who not only forgives my faults, but understands their origin even better than I do myself; and loves me anyway even more and even deeper than I even love myself.

I ask of you; is this kind of love NOT worth celebrating?

Recently I learned a song by “Vertical Horizon” who’s lyrics speak very clearly to me. The chorus goes like this:

He is everything you want
He is everything you need
He is everything inside of you that you wish you could be
He says all the right things
At exactly the right times
But He means nothing to you and you don’t know why
–“Everything you want” by Vertical Horizon”

Now this song was not written as a Christian song; but after listening to it for awhile, I compared it to my dad, who has always been everything I want and everything I need and everything inside that I wished that I could be, but for the longest time, I didn’t show him how much he meant to me, or even that he meant anything to me at all.

 Then I thought of it as pertaining to God; and listening to the final verse of the chorus as though God were saying it to me:

I am everything you want
I am everything you need
I am everything inside of you that you wish you could be
I say all the right things
At exactly the right times
But I mean nothing to you and I don’t know why

For many many years, God didn’t mean anything to me, and I’m sure He didn’t know why, because he IS everything I want, everything I need, everything inside of me that I wish I could be.

What WOMAN’s love could compare to that? …so let me examine my reasons to or not to celebrate this St. Valentines Day…

Incidentally, although I am largely against supporting the commercialism of what have become Hallmark holidays, I DO have a Valentines Day gift for each of you receiving this letter today.

It is not a card; I did not send you flowers, I have not bought you any chocolates; I did not write a song and dedicate it to you, I have not written flowery poetry in your name. I am not planning on taking any of you out to dinner or breakfast; so this, then, is my gift:

I merely wish to inform you all of how special you are to me, how much you all mean to me; understand that though I send this out as a group email, it means no less addressed to you as individuals.

If anyone among you doubts my words, I encourage you to try me by them; look me up when you need me, I will be there.

My gift to you this St. Valentines Day is to tell you that there is not a one among you I wouldn’t give my life for were it asked of me. ALL of you have touched me in ways deeper than you can possibly know; I have grown closer to God at one time or another because of a conversation I had with YOU specifically. I’m sure some of you even have an idea some of the conversations I might be referring to. The ways in which each of you lift me up are inspiring beyond beleif; I would not be who I am without you, nothing worthwhile that I have done or accomplished would be the same without any of you. Even those of you who haven’t known me long, what would I accomplish without your continuing love and support? How much that I have done this year do you think would continue to matter to me; at least, to the same extent that it does? My writing? My music? My poetry? My occaisional soapbox (as annoying as you might find it if I’ve stepped on your toes some days)?

Let it be my gift then, to attempt to return a tiny fraction of all that all of you have given to me this year; hope, support, a listening ear, praise for your accomplishments, understanding, forgiveness for any of your faults, a kind and encouraging word when you need one, the occaisional hug as always, the massage when you’re tense…and dozens more little things I cannot think of.

Let me merely attempt to be to you what you have been to me; this I offer as a small gift to all of you this St. Valentines Day, and although I know that I do a poor job of living up to it, understand that I mean it no less sincerely for my mistakes.

Let’s try and remember what LOVE is about this year; and I am sooooo tired of seing love maligned.

LOVE, by the way, is a verb, it implies ACTIONS; not feelings.

Let me show my love for you, not with cheap trappings, but in sincere service as God sees me, though I be a poor man for the job.

Happy St. Valentines Day.

Live the life,
Jason R. Peters

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  • Brandon

    Ahh Vertical Horizon…those were the days.

    You’re right about it being an all-around lousy holiday, from its creation on up to the competition and disappointment is causes. Even so, it is still fun to celebrate without resorting to any consumerism. I mean, there are plenty of un-fun things we would rather not do, like visiting stinky relative when you’re a kid. The trick is to turn it into your own event and have fun in your own way. Not that you don’t know this, I’m jus’ sayin’.

    Abby and I celebrate every year and not in an overdone, pink, plastic way. To us it doesn’t matter why the holiday exists. We simply see it as a good opportunity to focus on enjoying each other. It’s like a mini-birthday or mini-anniversary or something.

    Also: marriage is indeed built on love. Long live equal marriage rights.

    Finally, can we get “comments” links at the top AND bottom of each post?

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