Whatever happened to the Valentine boxes we made as children? Are schools still doing that or is it no longer politically correct to be friends and show your love for your fellow students? Have we become so afraid to show affection within our schools for fear that it will be misinterpreted? I hope not. Has any outward expression of caring disappeared from our vocabulary? Have we become so isolated that we no longer have the right to love one another?
I remember making a fancy valentine box to take to school. It was adorned with lace paper doilies and colorful construction paper hearts. It had to be beautiful and outstanding. I would bring it along with a stack of valentine cards for all my classmates and return home with a stack of cards from each of them. I often wondered what I would do if I didn’t get even one valentine. I would be devastated. If there would be a reason for not exchanging valentines, it would have to be that. Someone might not receive even one. Part of the fun of exchanging these little cards, was being able to share your friendship with another and receive some back as well.
Love is important to all of us. When we’re born, we rely on the love of our parents to shape our personality and belief system. Cuddles and hugs are necessary physical signs from those administering them, that we are loved. When we grow older, we depend on our peers to make us feel important. We try to fit into the mold they’ve fashioned for us, without thinking about the possible repercussions. As we become adults we search for the one well spend our life with, but may not find that right person. The way we feel about ourselves depends largely on how others feel about us, but is it the only way we can feel loved?
Love can be expressed in countless ways – a touch, a hug, a kiss, a kind word, gifts, encouragement, praise, honor and on and on. The selfless act of loving another person, is a willingness to look beyond yourself and discover that you’re incomplete without them. It really has more to do with a feeling – an emotion – a specialness that comes from caring about someone else more than yourself.
Cards, candy, flowers and other gifts cannot replace words. When we tell another that we love them, we’re giving them a piece of us that they can tuck away inside them. We’re sharing a portion of our thoughts, our hopes and dreams with them. For many, it’s a difficult thing to say, because we may feel we’re sacrificing too much.
To define the word love, you would have to say that it is a feeling of great attachment emotionally. It can also be described as a virtue – a compassion, empathy or sympathy we feel for someone in need or during a time of loss. Love is a beautiful word. It should be reserved for those who are most special to us, but also to be shared with those who need to be loved.
In our walk on this planet, we’ll encounter many ways to express love, but we will never be able to match the unconditional love shown to us by our Savior, Jesus. He gave up everything for us – not because He had to, but because He loves us, even in our sinful condition. There is no greater love than this.