My favorite Valentine’s Day ever was when I was about 16 years old. My friend Erika and I had the kind of lonely hearts reserved for teenage girls. Unnamed longing, crushes galore and endless pondering of what it might be like to actually (sigh!) have a boyfriend. Needless to say we were date-less on Valentine’s Day. As ever we found great joy and solace in each other’s company. There was no way this “man-less” state of ours was going to bring us down.
So we decided to scrape our money together and buy a dozen pink carnations at Alpha Beta (our local grocery store). Our plan was simple. We would walk around Canyon Crest (a shopping plaza complete with a movie theatre and several places to dine) and hand a flower to the cutest couples we saw. Give a little extra love to those who already had what we so desperately wanted.
We had the BEST time approaching couples young and old and handing out our flowers, informing them they had earned one of our “cutest couple” awards. Some were skeptical, some amused and some just beamed. We were a bit shy about it at first but got bolder as the night went on. We were totally high on spreading the love!
The moment I remember best is seeing a woman (maybe twenty years old) sitting on a bench crying. We walked up to her, handed her a flower (which made her cry even more), said “Happy Valentine’s Day” and walked away. We knew not to say more or to stick around. We didn’t know exactly why she was crying but we knew her heart was hurting and we wanted to offer a gesture of love and solidarity. It made us feel good and sincerely hoped it made her feel a little better too.
This is a sweet tale of youth but it lingers with me for deeper reasons. It exemplifies the power of giving what you wish to receive. It could have been a night of wallowing (and lots of ice cream). Instead we turned it into a night of euphoria. We loved the feeling of our great idea, we loved the feeling of bringing smiles and tears with our gesture and we loved each other. Our hearts were as full as full could be, no boyfriends needed.
This memory is also my Valentine to friendship. It is true love. Our best friends are sweet gems that love us through transformations, evolutions, highs and lows. I have been lucky, lucky, lucky to have friends like Erika come into my life and stay. Soul mates. She has one of the most generous hearts I know. She inspires me every time we talk. I send her a big hug all the way across the country.
This February find a way to give what you are longing for. Your own pink carnations. Spread your love. And give your dearest friends an extra squeeze. Send your love and receive their love in return. You know for sure it is coming back to you. That’s how true love works.
This story was originally sent as my February 2012 Newsletter but I thought it worth a re-post. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day.