Lonely on Valentine's Day

photo courtesy of Coolm36 via C.C. License at FlickrThere are years when Valentine's Day has found me feeling like a member of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, rather than a beloved and special Valentine of a devoted admirer.  On those years, when it feels as if everyone except me has someone to love, someone to enjoy, someone to be loved by, I wish that Valentine's Day would just pass me by. 

My vacant heart feels like a dried-up well, and there's nothing for me to do but wander around in my own emptiness and wish I belonged to someone. The problem is that loneliness is an all-too-common phenomenon on Valentine's Day, because it has become tied so exclusively to romantic and intimate love.

Historically, Valentine's Day did not become associated with romance until the Middle Ages.  Although there's very little known about St. Valentine, it is clear that St. Valentine was martyred for his love of God.  What makes this important is that the focus of the holiday is spiritual, not physical love.

It might make Valentine's Day a completely new experience if we could intentionally allow the needs of our heart to be filled by God's love. 

If we could take moments during the day to be wrapped in the wonder of knowing that we are completely and fully loved by heaven. The Abbé de Tourville, a simple French priest, once wrote, "Say to yourself, ‘I am loved by God more than I can either conceive or understand.' Let this fill all your soul and all your prayer and never leave you.  You will soon see that this is the way to find God."  

Now, that is a Valentine message!  If you're alone and are feeling like joining the Lonely Hearts Club on Valentine's Day, why not try the Abbé's suggestion instead? 

You might just find that it will become a habit to keep every day of the year.

This article originally appeared at explorefaith.org and is reprinted with permission.