A New Valentine’s Song
“Sing to the Lord a new song .” – Psalm 96
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that many of us love to hate. Maybe we’re single or lonely and married or divorced. Maybe we’re “between things.” Maybe we are madly in love and can’t wait to go out to dinner with our beloved. Whichever or whatever we are or aren’t, whichever of these blends identifies our romantic status, Facebook need not know. We can keep it to ourselves.
On the other hand, we can also be snarky enough to just hate all those red hearts, plastered up everywhere, bleeding and beating and encouraging us to buy something. Real hearts get arteriosclerotic or have an attack. They have angioplasty or face real stress tests every few hours every days in most people’s jobs. Hearts are so beautiful that it is obnoxious when they are overdone, like in the drug store or grocery aisles where even the dog bones have come out in heart shapes.
I long for a new Valentine’s song, one beyond the clutches of the consumer’s heart-shaped candy box–the one you can’t afford, don’t like to eat but feel compelled to give. It would be like those good old days when we wrote a Valentine’s card to every kid in our third grade class and rejoiced in the return of 26 to us. Or it would be like that day when I was doing the laundry and folding my husband’s clothes and realized I really do love him. I shed a little tear. I felt it in my heart. I remembered all the times he had folded my clothes for me. I hope I remember to get him a Valentine’s card this year, at least by the end of February.
O God, grant us heart-melting love. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.