|Cartoon courtesy of this link.|
Valentines Day in the United States and many other parts of our world can be defined as a time when advertisers try to convince the consumer that love is measured by acquiring that perfect gift that expresses our affections through material possessions. Somehow we have bought into (pun intended) this mindset that the money we spend on cards, flowers, candy, jewelry, a night out and other gifts is the yardstick that measures how much we care. Total spending for Valentines Day this year is expected to reach $17.6 billion and the average person will spend $126 which is the highest spent in the ten year history of the survey conducted by BIGinsight.
I would like to suggest a different view on love in contrast to the dozen roses and dinner at a five star restaurant.
Providing a meal for someone who otherwise would have nothing to eat.
Providing a home for someone who otherwise has no place to sleep in safety.
Caring for those who are disabled and can't take care of themselves.
Letting the fatherless know that you care.
Crossing social and economic boundaries and treating each other as equals
Putting shoes on the feet of those who have no money to buy shoes.
Gently caring and providing for those who have been sexually exploited in such a way that they feel protected, loved and beautiful.
Providing clean water to those who otherwise do not have access.
Reaching out to those who have been abandoned, no matter what age.
On this Valentine's Day, a day that is known to be one of the most stressful days of the year, let's not forget that love is not defined by the material possessions that we receive but rather by how we treat each other.
From The Message:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
How do you define love?
Note: I just returned from my second trip to Guatemala and once again it was a life changing experience for me. For those of you who contributed to the fund for Rosie, the baby in Guatemala with a cleft palate deformity, we were able to collect enough money for all of her surgeries. She has received the first surgery and is doing very well. She will receive her second surgery in March. She has returned home to be with her family at this time.