Valentine’s not all about romance

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

By Nathan Rice

Perhaps this isn’t something I should admit, but for years I thought Valentine’s Day was Feb. 15. This date was impressed in my mind not because I incorrectly thought it was the day I needed to ensure my sweetheart had chocolate and flowers, but rather because it is the day that Valentine’s Day candy went on sale. I’m a sucker for those Conversation Hearts.

As a longtime bachelor, I understand how Valentine’s Day can bother those who find themselves single on this Hallmark holiday. The site of thousands of red, heart-shaped balloons, giant teddy bears and boxes that are full of chocolate is just another reminder that we are without a significant other. I have even joined those celebrating Singles Awareness Day.

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This has changed over the years, however, as I realized that being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to bring upon sadness or bitterness. A simple change of perspective can make a big difference.

I am not in a romantic relationship with a woman, but I am continually wooed by the Creator of the world. My Heavenly Father constantly displays His love for me. The greatest love ever shown was directed at bringing me back to Him. This may be different than a romantic relationship with another, but why should I shun a holiday that celebrates love when I myself am a part of the greatest love story ever told?

Next, I have come to realize that being single is not a curse. It can actually be a hidden blessing. My singleness has allowed me the opportunity to do things that I might not have not been able to do with a family. I have been able to visit several countries and participate in numerous ministry events both domestic and abroad. While possible with a family, these may not have been feasible with a wife and kids.

It has also allowed me to pour myself into the lives of others without having to worry about neglecting my own family. I am able to spend Father’s Day with children whose fathers are no longer in their lives, pay for kids to attend summer camps and otherwise invest in those who I might not have had the resources or energy to give if I had a family.

I’m buying no flowers this Valentine’s Day, and I don’t have a reservation at a restaurant for a romantic evening. Nevertheless, I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. There are many people I love and many people who love me. Why can’t this be celebrated on Valentine’s Day just as much as those have been blessed with a romantic partner?

Love is not restricted to romance between a couple, but this is often our only focus on Valentine’s Day. This can cause us to miss out on love that is all around us. I am single for yet another Valentine’s Day, but that will not stop me from saying Happy Valentine’s Day.

Nathan Rice is the relationship manager of the Downtown Suffolk branch of ABNB Federal Credit Union. He is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.