(Original title: "Sometimes, You Have to Buy Your Own Roses")
I generally keep to myself on 14 February. Most years, I'm alone/out of love/"between engagements". So yeah, 14 February has become just something to endure. I try not to rain on anybody's parade, though. I stay away from the restaurants and other places couples tend to congregate.
Since today was grocery-shopping day, I included some chocolate fudge brownies and Haagen-Dazs chocolate chocolate chip ice cream (only a half-pint). No, I can't eat like that on the regular, but this is a special occasion (or so they say).
Yes, I find myself a bit disengaged at this time. The media is overrun with commercials showing happy couples, usually much younger than me. I'd guess there are a bunch of us singles underrepresented in the media this week. I'd also guess it's not very marketable to play up singleness when everyone else seems to be paired off.
(Whooops - digression over). As I got to work this afternoon, I got to visit with friends I hadn't seen in a few weeks. One of the ladies brought several dozen cloth red roses to hand out our customers for the 14th (they looked nice & fairly real, but they weren't very expensive).
So, of course, we got fewer customers than we expected tonight. As a result, maybe half of the roses were left over. As we did our post-work cleanup, that co-worker started handing out a rose to each of us. Now, it wasn't anything romantic - over the years, we've become friendly but that's as far as it goes.
However, that's exactly the point. If we're not careful, us singles can get caught up in what we didn't get for the 14th, or from whom we didn't get flowers, a card, etc. We can convince ourselves we are alone in this bustle of the 21st century. We're not. We haven't been forgotten. God knows we're here, and He never forgets.
So, when I thanked her for the rose, I had a feeling I hadn't felt before. She wasn't offering a come-on. And, I knew it from the start. It was a symbol, but not the usual symbol. And, oh-by-the-way, any excuse I might have had for whining on Friday suddenly evaporated. That's why the original title isn't needed.
So, I ask you to do this. It's more than just the cliché "count your blessings". There is meaning in that phrase, but as humans we have drained all the meaningfulness out of it. Stop, and ask yourself "who actually knows I'm here?. Who misses me when I'm not around?" You may pleasantly surprise yourself.
No, it doesn't replace a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant. It doesn't replace an intimate moment with a paramour. It doesn't have to. It's a completely different line of questioning. Maybe all your co-workers won't surround your desk on Friday, asking about your gift. But, you are loved. You are valued. Never lose sight of that.