How to re-discover the heart of Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day, stuffed bear, commercial, holiday

As I entered a Target store in Phoenix, Arizona I was surrounded by pink balloons, stuffed teddy bears, and shelves jammed with greeting cards and shiny red boxes of chocolates. I hurried through the jungle, passing end-cap displays for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Suddenly I felt sad, the same sadness that taunts me at Christmas. Sigh. Corporate tentacles have done their greedy best to snuff the heart out of Valentine’s Day.

It’s estimated that Americans will spend about $19 billion on Valentine’s Day. But I’m not one of them. If I’m going to say, “I love you,” I’m not going to do it with a box of candy. Yet Valentine’s Day (the history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery) is about telling someone that you love them, right?
My Dad always said, “Don’t complain, Marion, unless you offer a solution.” Well, Dad, you’re right. Here are seven, softer ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day–they won’t cost a dime but your effort will yield a million spiritual dollars.

  1. Forgive someone you’ve hurt.
  2. Pray for someone who is ill.
  3. Go for a walk with a friend.
  4. Send love to your neighbors.
  5. Send love to your community.
  6. Send love to your country.
  7. Send love to everyone in the world.
I spotted this street sign in Arizona. Now I'm looking for LOVE STREET. Anyone seen it?

I spotted this street sign in Arizona. Now I’m looking for LOVE STREET. Anyone seen it? (Marion Owen photo)

Love to you, too.


  • Nora J.
    February 14, 2016 at 4:21 PM

    I totally agree–every day should be Valentine’s Day when we think and do for others who need love and attention.

    • marionowen
      February 15, 2016 at 6:18 PM

      Yes Nora, we should treat every day as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. Or maybe as if it were our last. How differently we would behave, yes? Thanks for your comment. Cheers!

    • Velda Solomon
      February 16, 2016 at 11:05 PM

      Thank you Marion. Have a safe trip.

  • Velda Solomom
    February 14, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    There is a Love Street in Angels Camp California !!! How appropriate, huh?!

    • marionowen
      February 15, 2016 at 6:18 PM

      I might have to go looking for it. thanks, Velda!

      • Velda Solomon
        February 15, 2016 at 6:27 PM

        Angels Camp is not far but I haven’t been in a while but it’s name has always made me smile. If you visit Northern California, let me know. I’m near Sacramento. My hubby recently began teaching himself to make coin rings and his act of love got stymied by a tool on back order. But his working on a ring for Valentine’s Day is Love to me. ESP since he is recovery from his 3rd round of cancer treatment. One day soon I will wear that ring with pride.

      • marionowen
        February 16, 2016 at 6:10 PM

        My prayers for you and your husband. Faith, hope and love, too. Coin rings sound wonderful. Off to Encinitas for a retreat. Cheers and blessings, Marion

  • Kathy Duprey
    February 14, 2016 at 11:51 AM

    Marion, You share my sentiments about the commercialism of holidays. Reaching into our relationships with others using consideration,
    and compassion can only temper us to grow into being genuine. While I don’t know of a street named “love”, my daughter lives in Anchorage on Spendlove Drive. I am particularly fond of this street name as a reminder to all of us, which is so needed.

    • marionowen
      February 15, 2016 at 6:20 PM

      Thanks, Kathy, for your thoughts. So true. And the next time I’m in Anchorage (hopefully to photograph snowflakes) I’ll look up Spendlove Drive. Love it!


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