GULF NEWS, Dubai, UAE
© by Alice Delaney Walker
#3 February 8, 1990
The red-heart “I love you, Valentine” holiday alleviates what, for most Europeans and Americans, is the coldest and most cruel time of the year: winter. But St. Valentine is no longer, not since 1969. He was removed from the saint list that year. Probably because he was born close to a Roman fertility festival and the only way to be fruitful and multiply is to couple first, i.e. send a Valentine to your beloved.
I’ve given hundreds of Valentines away: from first grade when everyone gave to everyone; then onto junior high when the cards became more personal and special (and traumatic); then onto high school and college when such a card became a declaration of love – or intention. Then cards evolved again into that first grade experience of giving to everyone: friends, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances.
My theory is that every time we choose to love someone, and allow that person to touch us, physically or mentally, that person leaves their heart-print on our soul: an eternal Valentine microdata chip imprinted into our own personal system.
Sometimes, in a tough social situation, I will recall a diplomatic friend and listen to her remembered voice instruct me on the best course of action. I’ve also internalized a few gourmet friends and remember them as I chop vegetables, use garlic properly, cook shrimp, make rice and de-bone chicken. Sometimes, when I feel disheartened as every teacher does once in a while, student voices will ring through my memory and restore and refresh me.
Teachers, parents and relatives have also given me their heart-print microdata chips in the pictures and words they have imprinted on my life.
Over the years, these heart-prints are internalized into our deepest selves. It’s as if we are wet clay and these Valentine mircodata heart-prints re-shape us into a new Venus de Milo or Michelangelo’s David.
Thus, my Valentine theory for you is:
“You are who you love, Happy Valentine’s Day!”