Honor Valentine’s Day: Make it Count

According to one legend of Saint Valentine, the night before his execution he wrote the very first valentine, signing it, “From your Valentine.” Though apocryphal, it’s a fitting tribute to the tradition of conveying our love to others.

It’s a tradition that has inspired many to do the same. The oldest known valentine is a French poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415, addressed to his wife. Written while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt, it read in part:

I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.

Valentine’s Day

Modern celebrations of Valentine’s Day may seem far-flung when compared to such extreme circumstances, but the motivation remains the same: to take the opportunity to honor our loved ones. In earlier times people sent poems, letters, or handmade cards. Today, we give gifts – whether it be the ubiquitous chocolate and roses or something more personal, like the perfect piece of jewelry to celebrate the unique soul of our beloved. Indeed, in today’s world even the gift of time can outshine any tangible treasure.

Each day many of us experience the greatest gift possible: the richness of love in our lives. Valentine’s Day is our simple recognition that such love should be cherished. Different eras and cultures have their own ways of celebrating something so commonplace and still so extraordinary. Yet in the end, they all acknowledge the same essential truth – that love makes our lives better.

The Duke of Orleans never did reunite with his “gentle Valentine;” his wife died before he was released. But almost six hundred years later, people still read the valentine he sent to her. His love has been immortalized, a poignant example of how its power can transcend time and distance.

So when you declare your love, make it count.

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