The Valentine Gift That Won’t Stop Giving….


        Let me just first confess up front, that I am a willing and happy participant of this activity, less I am posting my future comments from the dog house. As I told a friend the other day; his economic materialism-capitalism analysis of what is driving Valentine ’s Day was theoretically solid; but perhaps this is not the place in which he would want to draw the proverbial ideologically correct line in the sand, (there is but so much space in each dog-house!) But it’s interesting that I spoke to four women last week (totally separated from each other’s thoughts and words); who all spoke to the same theme; the urge and desire to have a Valentine’s Day gift go beyond just purchasing them “something red”. It seems that they were saying that the “commercial” route is too easy, and made too convenient by a “very loud” , persistent, greedy, and yet soulless entrepreneurial class.  And these young ladies also said that they want a “gift” that ask the “significant other” person to expend some degree of emotional commitment, time and concern; not necessarily an expensive gift; but rather a gift that was rich with the aspects of their individual personalities; (“doesn’t he know by now that I am not particularly thrilled about chocolate?”)  Have men discovered a valuable day (for them) to take the least difficult path to “demonstrate” concern (“love”)? “I gave you a valentine’s gift, now can you just pass me the remote and leave me alone! But  these ladies  also spoke of a “consistency of attention” that went beyond one day. This single day dedicated to “love”, runs the risk of trivializing an important divine attribute. A slickly, well-advertised and hyper-sensationalized, or in many cases hyper-sexualized, (even Macy’s and Wal-Mart are  trying to channel Victoria’s Secret!), can’t make up for 364 days of neglect! But without a spiritual foundation and structure in a relationship, all gifts are in danger of being insufficiently symbolic acts made to pretend sincerity because of the commercial connection. A gift should be a small prayer that has the capacity to produce a smile in the other person’s heart. There should be much of you in the gift, and much more of the other person in the gift. People are fully aware (even if they don’t admit it) when a gift comes from the heart, and not solely from the wallet. Habits of the spirit should be motivated by a Godly spirit of service, in this case to one person (the gift recipient) “standing in”, momentarily in time, for all mankind. “gift-giving” then, should be a small model and a reminder of a commitment to societal gift giving. But it should also truly be an act that keeps on giving every day, in acts of ongoing kindness small and large, seen and unseen; and most importantly in making a statement of charity, concern and compassion toward the person throughout the year. How can you go back to your “bad ways” and bad treatment of the other, on February 15? God, it has been said, is love. What then (Tina Turner singing in the back ground), does this one day have to do with it?