For some, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to extravagantly honor the romantic relationships we quietly rely upon. For others, this hallmark holiday magnifies their pain of loneliness and loss. In an act of protest (or an additional festivity), women all over the world now celebrate “Galentine’s Day” instead. Some boycott the traditional Valentine’s Day observance, others have two celebrations, and all of them honor the platonic relationships that sustain their lives. Our joy, our pain, and our protest all proclaim our desire to be connected to someone or something beyond our individual lives.
And this is where our path crosses with the psalmist who sings, step by step, on the way to Jerusalem. Unlike this ancient pilgrim, we may not find anything particularly meaningful in the city or its temple, but we are ultimately seeking the same spiritual home. The literal translation of Jerusalem is “City of Peace.” Its Hebrew root shalom means more than a lack of conflict. It denotes the wholeness, healing, and restoration that comes from being in the presence of the Lord. Isn’t that what we all really want? Whether you experience suffering, pleasures, or ambivalence on this Valentine’s Day, remember that the true source of your longing is a desire for oneness with the living God who created and still walks with you. Remember that God is your true home, the only place you are unconditionally loved and delighted in. However you spend this day, and whomever you spend it with, may this Valentine’s Day be a time to celebrate your homecoming to God and yourself.
What emotions are you feeling? What practices might help you find yourself in God today?
Loving God, come close. Be present in my delight and despair. Help me find my home in you. Amen.