7 February 2018 |
Aunt Sevvy isn’t answering a question this week. Instead, she wants to talk to you about Valentine’s Day.
Historically, Valentine’s day started out as a quasi-religious holiday—a feast day to the now-demoted St. Valentine, who may never have actually existed. But who cares? Even in its present commercialized form, Aunt Sevvy likes it as an excuse to do something nice for people you love during what is, across many parts of the world, a cold and forbidding season.
It doesn’t need to be a gigantic or expensive gesture. People worth your love want something personal more than something expensive—something that shows you listened to them when they shared their feelings or preferences. If they said they love Indian food, make a new recipe for them. If they complain about having to get out of bed to turn off the light, surprise them with a fashionable lamp for the night stand. Chocolate is great if you get the kind you know he or she likes. (Make sure it’s good chocolate—please, you can do better than CVS!) Aunt Sevvy has also enjoyed orchid plants that bloom for a long time, and sometimes rebloom.
I beg of you—and I regret that it even needs to be said— to avoid gifts that represent any kind of self-improvement or housework. No surprise gym memberships, diet books, or vacuum cleaners, please.
Aunt Sevvy reminds you that Valentines Day isn’t a happy holiday for everyone. If you’re in a warm and happy relationship, think of those people you love who aren’t. Anyway, Valentine’s Day should be about more than romance. Include anyone who needs to know you love them. A card or small box of chocolates to two or three of those people who probably won’t get any won’t go amiss.
Having advised you thusly, Aunt Sevvy wants to remind you that love as we Christians understand it is more than candy-filled hearts and flowers.
Aunt Sevvy knows a couple in their 70s, where the wife had a severe stroke. The husband, still strong, spent the next ten years patiently caring for her, never failing to tell her how much he loved her and how beautiful she was. There’s not much romance in having to spoon feed someone pureed food or sit them on the toilet and clean up afterwards. But to do it with patience and grace—that’s real love, in the Christian definition.
Almost every loved one I know would trade all the chocolate and flowers in the world for consistent kindness, soft words, everyday helpfulness, encouragement, thoughtful listening, attentiveness, and sensitivity to his or her needs. That, in the long run, goes way farther than a candlelit romantic dinner now and then.
Still, the dinner is nice. And the candy. And the flowers. To paraphrase Jesus: this you ought to do, and not leave the other undone.
Aunt Sevvy feels it might be well to add that she prefers dark chocolate truffles.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.