Happy Valentine's Day to my dear readers!

I confess to having mixed feelings about this holiday, primarily because it has been so shamelessly commercialized and thereby trivialized. I can only imagine what a painful day it is for those who are alone or who have suffered recent losses.

Since this is a blog about Connection, however, let's connect with the roots of the day. According to Wikipedia, Saint Valentine's Day (shortened later to Valentine's Day) was established in the fifth century by Pope Gelasius to commemorate one or more Christian martyrs. It has come to represent a time for lovers to celebrate their love and affection with gifts and cards. “The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.”

In actuality, the origin of St. Valentine's association with the day is shrouded in mystery. One legend holds that he was put to death for flouting a decree against Emporer Claudius II's laws prohibiting young men in his military service from having wives and families by conducting marriage ceremonies. Other stories credit St. Valentine with rescuing Christians from imprisonment. Still others say he sent the first greeting from prison to his beloved and signing it “From your Valentine.”

Despite my cynicism for the commercialism of the day, there is never a bad time to express your love for someone, and if it takes a formal holiday to help you make that most essential connection with the loved ones in your life, then I'm all for it. If I may suggest just one “Connection Tip” for the occasion, don't just send a card or note that says “I love you!” Include a personal message about what it is that you love about that person and why you cherish them. When family members go through memorabilia after someone has died, these are the kinds of notes that were saved and read over and over. Don't assume someone knows how you feel about them. Tell them. Tell them right now. And if you don't get it done on Valentine's Day, for heaven's sake, don't wait another year.

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