Dear Valentine’s Day,

By Jamie Tworkowski

My friend Don wrote a blog about you today and his blog suggests that you used to look a lot different than you do today. He says that you are the product of a poet and that before this poet’s pen, you were not a romantic holiday.

i think i would have liked you more back then, whenever that was. The truth is that you really bother me now. i think you bother a lot of people, honestly. You show up every year right after Christmas. You turn the windows pink and you sell your diamonds on the radio and i think i’ve gotten five emails from 1-800-FLOWERS in the last three days. i’m not sure how you got so much power.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that i don’t like love. i love love – i think it’s the best thing that happens on the planet. It’s the biggest dream inside me. But i bought a lie somewhere along the way. i bought the lie that says i’m not alive if i’m not in love. i bought the lie that says if i love someone but then they stop loving me or they start loving someone else, then i must have no value or power or worth. i bought the lie that says if i’m not in love, then i’m as good as dead.

And if you believe that lie long enough, it makes a giant hole. It makes a hole so big that no one person could ever begin to fill it. Not even a princess. Believe me, i’ve tried. To fill it with a person, to fill it with beauty, to fill it with all the things you sell. 

But i don’t think it works that way. Bono says his songs come from a God-shaped hole inside of him. He’s my favorite singer and he has a lot of things. He has great stories and a wife and kids and plenty of money. But in spite of all of those things, he says he still has this hole and he says that it’s the reason that he sings.

i’ve been thinking lately that maybe i’ve confused a girl for God, a different one every year or two, since the first day of junior high. And man, that is a lot of pressure to put on someone, to make them God. That is a ton of power to hand someone. Especially when they’re just a person. A person with questions and flaws and pain of their own.

So maybe there’s a war, inside of me and for me and maybe my heart is the opposite of small. Maybe it’s the opposite of cheap and empty and alone. Maybe it’s sacred and enormous and wild.

To make a long story short, i think i’ve given you way too much power. i let you scare me and i let you name me and i let you tell me what i’m worth.

i don’t want to do that anymore.

There are dreams inside of me and those are mine and my guess is that they’re there for a reason. But for all the days like now where the dreams are asked to be only dreams, i’m gonna keep getting out of bed. i’m gonna keep living my story. i’m gonna believe that there is reason and purpose, and power in my life. i’m gonna believe that i’m alive inside a story bigger than my pain, bigger than everything missing.

It crossed my mind to try to ignore you, to try to go to bed early and wake up when you’re gone. But i changed my mind. i am part of a gang in Florida and we’re gonna get together tonight. We’re going to open our computers and we’re going to choose to believe that words are powerful. We’re gonna do our best to tell someone something true. We’re gonna ask people not to give up on their stories.

Valentine’s Day, i don’t hate you. i don’t even blame you. Perhaps you did not name yourself. Perhaps you are the product of hundreds of years, hundreds of thousands of broken people and a million God-shaped holes.

The truth is that we’re all living love stories.

Peace to you tonight.

PS: i wrote this while listening to The Script‘s Science & Faith.

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