Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day - A Waste of Time

I know, I know. Some of you may be up in arms against me as you read this. Hear me out first ok?

Credit: allbestwallpapers.com
Valentine's Day is a waste of time. What do I mean? I do not mean a waste of money. I have been noticing how flower shops have been stocking up on roses galore. The other day at a hypermarket, I noticed bouquets of flowers of assorted colours on sale. Nicely packaged, complete with decorations and a card to fill in some words of intimacy and love, every bunch of roses are crying out: "Take me! Take me! She'll love me, and she'll love you even more!"

Come to think of it, will flowers really make my wife love me more?

Some of my friends tell me that their wives do not like flowers on Valentine's Day. (Bless them!) Many feel that the whole event has become too commercialized. There is no point paying good money after some ordinary flowers at 3 times the normal price.

My wife do not expect me to buy flowers for her on Valentine's Day. I told her since we got married that I will not buy flowers on Valentine's Day. It's too expensive and too much of a fad. It is also such a  meaningless activity in chasing after the flowers. One year I relented. I bought her just one rose. It symbolized my declaration of her being my only love of my life. Of course, God is always our love. I am talking about human to human.

A) A Waste of Time

What do I mean by Valentine's Day being a waste of time? Certainly, I am not brushing off St Valentine and the meaning of sharing love and passion with one's beloved. Wasting time is essentially using Matthew Kelly's phrase: 'care-free timelessness.' Imagine a guy asking a girl out on a date on Valentine's Day. Whipping out his classy iPhone 4S, he opens up the agenda:

6pm - Pick her up at her office
7pm - Arrive at the Italian Restaurant for dinner.
8pm - Dessert time
8.30pm - Pay bills and leave
9pm - Catch a romantic movie
11pm - Eat Ice-cream at a drive-in restaurant
12am - Pucker up.

In a corporate world of 'if-you-fail-to-plan-you-plan-to-fail,' it is tempting to program in a romantic schedule with such precision, as if the other party will respond exactly as planned. Mind you, your love interest or partner is not a football player that plays a game with two half-times, officiated by a time keeper. Your love interest is not supposed to stick to your plans at all costs, despite your best intentions. The date is a time for you to just enjoy the companionship and the warmth of knowing you think about and care for him/her.

Carefree timelessness is much lacking in our results-driven world. We are so used to following a schedule according to the clock. From the alarm clock in the morning to the lunch time bell, from working 9-5 at work, and relaxing 8-12 at home, our lives are regulated by the clock. Our social structures are beginning to look like people fitting into the structure rather than the structure fitting into people's lives.

I miss my childhood days where I can play with my friends without any concern about time. Together with my friends, we would kick the ball on the field, slide through the mud, throw dirt at one another, and simply have fun playing. There was no keeping track of time. There was no cares or concerns to worry about. There was only play, play, and more play. Until of course, our mothers come screaming at us to come home. Some of my friends got their ears pulled as they screamed and kicked.

Strange. When we become adults, we seemed to have lost the art of enjoying play and one another's company. We have become too driven, too focused, and too impatient to make others fit into our lives. After living in a world where we try to fit ourselves into the worldly structures of schedules, appointments, and time-sensitive work, we unwittingly expect our partners to fit into our own expectations and schedules.

No! Carefree timelessness is about being free to care without worrying about time. It is being free to let our partners be themselves. It is being free to let ourselves enjoy the time together. It is being free to 'waste" our time. Even as the clock ticks away, we learn to enjoy one another as if the battery in the clock has died. Time has frozen. The cares of the world evaporate as we become captivated in one another's eyes, and our hands in each other's grasps.

B) Free to Love

If couples can be freed from the tyranny of rushing themselves to fit the time schedules, it is truly a liberating experience. If we run by the clock, we will be constantly checking our watches. Sometimes, that can become so precise that we become guilty of mechanizing our date experience. Humans are created to be free. Why try to cage people in? Why the need to force one another to fit our schedules when we have been locked in a schedule during the day already?

The great love verse by the Apostle Paul is a reminder to us what love is all about.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Cor 13:4-7)

When we love one another, time is a tool, not a ruler. Love needs to be patient enough to wait for one another. Perhaps, each of us have different approaches to warm ourselves up to each other. Love is kind enough to let our partners be themselves, and us be our best selves during that special time together. Love does not envy other people and will refuse to do something simply because other people are doing it. Love will not boastful or prideful of how much one has done, but will boast about the merits and beauty of one's partner. Love will not be rude to the servers in the restaurants, or the traffic wardens and drivers, because one's love is not easily angered. Love is not self-seeking in trying to fit other people into our schedules. It is to allow ourselves to fit into other people's moods as much as possible to trust and to protect.

C) Love 'ALWAYS' Transcends Time

As I think about one of the late Whitney Houston's best songs, "I will always love you," it is a testimony of love being one of carefree timelessness. How can we honestly say, "I will ALWAYS love you," if we are constantly driven by the clock, by the agenda, and by our own self-interests?

Spending time with our loved ones needs to be one that is open, not closed in by an agenda. True love transcends time. True love puts the one in front of you above any agenda. True love does not rush the other. True love walks together when it is time to walk. True love talks when it is time to talk. True love enjoys the silence when it is time to be quiet. Love is enjoying beauty in all of its essence. Let me close with a quote about beauty.

 “Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” (Ashley Smith, American author)

D) A New Agenda

The most romantic activities are often free!
Ok. For those of us who are die-hard schedulers or timekeepers, may I propose this new agenda.

6pm-12am: It's all about you, and for you, darling.

Then watch how the whole evening unfolds.

Perhaps, when we learn to appreciate nature for what nature is, people for what people are, and life for what life is, we will appreciate beauty and be able to appreciate loving one another better. For love transcends time. Love transcends our selfishness. Love transcends worldly values. May our special day for our loved ones be not constrained by time or agendas. May our love be free. May our love be free to 'waste' our time so that we can love our beloved freely and wholly.

Love well. Hey. If you need to buy that bouquet, go ahead. Perhaps, the roses will lock her in a state of 'carefree timelessness' beyond Valentine's Day, just thinking about how much you are thinking about her?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd rather go hug a tree that hug my wife for valentines day. God what an awful thought. I'm sure she expects something but like previos years it ain't going to happen.

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