A day for love (and dread)

By AMANDA MORENOLove is in the air. At least, that's what society says when it comes to Valentine's Day. It seems as it gets closer, more red starts appearing. Stores start stocking their shelves with Valentine's Day cards, teddy bears, chocolates, flowers and many more “expressions of love.”Valentine's Day comes around every year and star-crossed love birds tend to pop up everywhere and the not so star-crossed go into hiding. Depending on which side of the fence one is on, Feb. 14 is either the most anticipated or the most dreaded day. Valentine's Day has been turned into a day of love. Society has designated one day out of 356 days for everyone to show their significant other just how much they are loved. It has also come to be the one day that can either make or break two people; of course, by no fault of anyone but society. For those who are attached and forget, it can and probably will be the biggest devastation to their partner. Then there are those who remember, but don't make a grand enough gesture. The point has become about how much you can do and has somehow faded from how much love is actually involved. Honestly, this wonderful day of love can actually change tides rather quickly. When one stops and looks at the history of Valentine's Day, the present day repercussions actually make sense. According to one version, Valentine was a priest, serving in Rome during the third century. This particular priest believed in the importance of love and the bond of marriage so much so that even after it become illegal for young men to marry, he continued to perform secret ceremonies. Once his forbidden actions were discovered, he was put to death. He was a martyr for love.Another version, not so closely related to love, shows how one human being's big heart led to his death. There is even a version that shows that not even confinement can stop the power of love. According to this legend, Valentine fell in love with a jailer's daughter while he was in prison. During his confinement, the lady came to visit him and a connection was formed. Before his death, he sent a letter signed “From your Valentine.” Centuries later, the true origin is still uncertain. The chances of anyone truly discovering how it all began are diminishing, but either way, each story reflects the power of the human heart. It demonstrates the lovingness, understanding and compassion that any and every heart can hold. February 14 is meant to be about love. It's a day for two people to express their love for one another. During these hard economic times, despite the slow uprise, making grand gestures is a hard thing for the majority of the population to accommodate. Then again, it wouldn't be such a big issue if society hadn't forgotten that love isn't expressed through money. Don't get me wrong, I'm as impressed by diamonds, flowers and gifts as much as the next girl, but in this past year I have also come to see things with a different perspective. Love isn't something that I'm an expert at and I won't claim to be, but I have noticed that when times are tough the true meaning of love comes out. Last year and all the years before, my definition of love basically was determined by how much money could be spent and how grand of a gesture was offered. This year, as much as I want to be able to enjoy the big presents and extravagant night out, I have to say that I will be happy with a simple, but true expression of love. This past year has taught me something that I want to share with everyone, young and old. Love truly is the one thing that can't be bought. It's a feeling, a desire deep within that is only true when nothing else seems to matter. Love isn't expressed with big diamonds and fancy meals; anyone with money can make that happen. It's expressed through the look in a person's eyes, the feeling of butterflies that appear when the thought of that special someone enters your mind. It's expressed through a smile, a laugh, even a tear.Love is about being able to enjoy a simple picnic next to a fireplace on a cold day. It's about being able to look beside you and realize that someone supports your dreams, your desires and ambitions no matter how hard of a road lies ahead. It's about being able to look in the future and see happiness and companionship. Diamonds, flowers, teddy bears and cards are tokens of love that can be held. They are things that can be lost, forgotten and destroyed. In time, they can become unimportant and lose all value, but the emotions and the memories are the things that will last forever. This Valentine's Day don't forget to express the love you have, whether it be for a significant other, a family member or an amazing friend. We have one day designated to express our emotions so why not use it to the full extent? Tomorrow is not promised and it could be the last chance you have. Take advantage of the day — buy a card, make a card, buy a gift, make a gift — no matter what, show that certain someone that they matter. Love isn't something that should be taken for granted and it definitely shouldn't be ignored or abused. If you are lucky enough to have someone that you truly love and loves you in return, treasure them. True love will transcend this lifetime, but only if you embrace it and nurture it. Say “I Love You” and enjoy the moments. After all, Valentine's Day only comes but once a year. Contact Staff Writer Amanda Moreno She can be reached at 264-7331 or by e-mail at life@bigspringherald.com