“Singleness and Church Valentines Day Banquets (Bring On the Chocolates and Keep ’em Coming!)”

Ah, Valentines Day. The day that evokes warm and fuzzy feelings in girls and guys all over the world. For many, it conjures up thoughts of flowers and candy and the perfect dream date…it’s a nice illusion isn’t it? But for the rest of us (which sometimes seems like a small minority) that are single on Feb. 14th., instead of warm and fuzzy feelings, it can sometimes evoke feelings of sadness, anger, and just a twinge of jealously. Come on, we’ve all been there right? (And if your answer to that question was no then I’d rather you keep your opinions to yourself. lol)

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been the type to feel sad or angry on Valentines Day. I’m probably one of those rare people that whether I have a special guy in my life or not, will always see it as a happy and fun day. For some reason, I just always want to bake strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pink sprinkles, and hand them out to everyone I know. My point is, I just never saw myself as the girl sitting on the couch watching “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” alone crying into a box of assorted chocolates. That just isn’t me… Now before you’re tempted to just hall off and smack me, let me finish. That never was me…at least I didn’t think so. Until that one dark and fateful Valentines day when I was 16 or 17 years old….

You see, I’m a pastors daughter. And with that, at times, comes certain obligations to do things and go places that I would normally choose not to go to. Case in point, the church Valentines Day banquet that my youth group was invited to attend that year. It was being given by the other churches in the area,  specifically for the youth. As I remember, I was the first one to protest this idea. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against church Valentines banquets really. It’s a cute and fun thought I suppose. Actually my parent’s first date was at a church valentines banquet. So I’m not dissing them. I just had preconceived notions of what it was going to be like I guess.

To prefaces, our youth group at the time, and well most of the time was very very small. And that small size youth group was also typical for the other churches in the area who were expected to attend. The only ones from our group who were even old enough to go were me, and about 3 of my cousins and a few of their friends. I just kept thinking, “Oh Lord, we’re going to be the only ones there!” I just had that nagging feeling i guess you could say. But I pushed it out of my mind and tried to have a positive attitude about it. And it worked! I was actually excited about going. I blame my mom for this really. If my memory serves me correct, she had to give us a little pep talk to get us to go at all. She claimed it would be lots fun! That there would be good food, games, and a speaker. Plus, she said there might even be some cute guys there… and to our all girl group that sounded pretty good! Ha! How easily you can be led a stray! The mere possibility of cute guys had us thinking that this didn’t sound so bad after all. Still can’t believe we bought it. 

So the day comes and we’re all getting ready to go. I wore my cutest skirt and top with heels. All of us girls looked pretty cute! All of us being surprisingly jazzed about going. So we finally arrive…and of course…we are the first ones there. Which really didn’t bum us out too much, we were still hopeful. Or in denial, you be the judge. We go into the banquet room filled with decorated tables and a small stage.We decided to go ahead and take a seat and wait patiently for the other youth groups who we were sure would arrive at any second. And eventually, people did start to arrive.

But what kept worrying me was that, instead of young people entering the room, the only people who kept walking in were people of the “over 50 crowd” I guess you could say. I think we all just kept watching them walk through the door one by one thinking, “Wait a minute, isn’t this a Youth Valentine banquet? A banquet on Valentines specifically for the youth?” That is what we were led to believe. That is what the sign on the stage said. But where were the other youth groups? Where were the cute guys?

They were nowhere to be found. So when everyone was seated and the tables were filled, the bitter realization that, yes, we were the only youth group there finally began to sink in like a cheap two week old box of stale chocolates. Yes, it was a hard caramel to swallow. We were spending our Valentines Day with….OLD PEOPLE!!!

{Disclaimer – If you are over 50, this blog is not meant to offend you in any way. I am simply in the middle of trying to tell a story and hopefully eventually make a point. Thank you for your patience and understanding.}

A lady finally went up to the stage and welcomed us all to the youth valentine banquet…of course she is only looking at our table since we were the only table with actual youth to welcome. She then starts singing a song and tells everyone to join in…no one really does. So she becomes even more animated, smiling really big, looking only at us. She walks over to our table, clapping and trying to get us to clap along with her. We finally caved and joined in the clapping fest, giving her the best half smile we could muster. After the song, from what I can remember, (just to note- you’ll have to bear with me. My memory of this night is a little fuzzy. Partly because it’s been a while, and partly because I’ve tried to block some of it out.) it was time for the good food we had heard about.

The chosen meal for the night was… a baked potato. Yes, one baked potato wrapped in aluminum foil. To be perfectly honest, I was a little surprised to see just a baked potato and nothing else. I guess I just always thought of that particular veggie as a side dish that’s all. Granted they did have some toppings for it but at the time I just didn’t get it. But dessert seemed promising…two different kinds of cake. But alas I was not really sure what I was eating, cake or cardboard. I couldn’t be sure, although I spent the rest of the evening digesting it.

During dessert, they announced that one of the youth leaders was going to come up front and speak. Which I was excited to hear, considering I had not remembered any youth leaders being there the whole night. I thought maybe I just over looked them. As I’m waiting for the youth leader to get up to speak, I notice that a little boy who could not have been more than ten years old walking up to the stage. I thought maybe that was the youth leader’s kid. Well imagine my surprise to find out that he WAS the youth leader.

To be honest, I couldn’t tell you much of what happened after that. I was gone…lost in my thoughts of “Dear God all mighty, is this what my life has come to?” And really for the first time on Valentines Day I felt a little depressed…okay, I felt a lot depressed lol. Who would have thought something as innocent looking as a church Valentine banquet could depress an otherwise happy girl so very much! Ah, it was a long night.

When we finally left, at first, I felt a little better, still trying to look on the bright side of things. But mid-way home the baked potato and cake/cardboard mixed with the bitter memories and it all went sour from there. I mean, the people who threw the banquet had the very best of intentions. It was very sweet and thoughtful for them to want to do this for the youth, whether there were any youth there or not.

Really it was just my own insecurities having an excuse to come out. I felt like we were the only ones there because, of course,  everyone else had something to do that day but us. Realistically, I knew that wasn’t true, I just wanted to mope. I couldn’t help but feel jealous of all the other girls out there who were getting flowers and candy, and going out on romantic dates with their boyfriends. I couldn’t help but think of all the things I was missing out on by not having a boyfriend on Valentines day. I just sat there after I got home that night just feeling sorry for myself. Trying to laugh at the situation but failing miserably. I just kept thinking that because I didn’t have a boyfriend I couldn’t experience all this day was supposed to be. But really, what is Valentines day supposed to be? I don’t think I had a clue. I don’t think a lot of us have a clue. And eventually, I realized a few things.

First of all… I was making the day way more important than it really is. I was being a bit over dramatic and making the day the end all be all day of love and romance. But the most important thing I realized was, that you are NOT abnormal if you don’t have a boyfriend on Valentines Day, or any other day of the year for that matter.

Being single on Valentines Day does not mean that you are not special enough, or not pretty enough, or that you are just not enough. YOU ARE! You are still all of those wonderful things and do not let yourself believe otherwise! Being single on Valentines Day can be hard when you see all the happy yet somewhat nauseating couples gleefully celebrating the day. But Febuary 14th is really not the most important day of the year to show love to the special person in your life. The days that really matter are Feb. 15th, 16th, 17th …..March….April…May….June…and so on and so on. It’s much harder to love, truly love someone every other day of the year than it is just one day a year. To find the words when Hallmark is not writing them for you…and to back them up with real actions when roses just aren’t good enough anymore. I’ve seen couples who seem all in love on Feb. 14th but treat each other like crap on Feb. 15th. Spending time learning to love each other right everyday of the year is better the than spending a lot of money one day a year.

The reality of love is far from always being flowers and candy. Real love is a whole lot harder than choosing the perfect Valentine card or the most romantic restaurant. I suppose real love lived out everyday is staying when you feel like leaving. Working things out when you don’t have a clue how. Being patient when all you want to do is scream. Putting the other person first when you just want to focus on your feelings. And I think that kind of love is possible only when both people know the father of love, Jesus Christ. When both people are willing to die to self everyday and be committed to loving each other even when they don’t feel in love.

Really, love in any form requires you to die to self. Love is a decision. You choose whether you’re going to show the love of Christ to people everyday. It often isn’t easy and it often requires a lot from you, but I’ve come to find it’s worth it. I want to be known as a loving person, not just to a boyfriend, and not just to a husband someday, but to everyone. And not just one day a year but everyday. I have a long way to go and certainly a lot to learn about what it means to love well. But somehow, with this in mind, it makes Valentines Day seem less important yet more meaningful all at the same time.

Just to let you know, I went to another church youth Valentine banquet about a year later. I drug my cousin, Pam, along with me. We sat and pretended to eat cold green pasta and mingled with people a lot older than us, then raced to Sonic for cheeseburgers afterwards lol. I’m so glad it’s something I can finally look back on and laugh at. It took a while to see any humor in it at all. Oh and I am spending my Valentines day alone this year….but as far as I’m concerned, the other girls can have all the flowers and candy. I’ll wait for the guy who’s going to love me right every day of the year. Now that sounds better than any truffle Godiva can make. lol

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About Krystal Rodriguez

Follower of Christ. Twenty-something from Texas. Blogger. Baker. Music addict. Night owl. Chocoholic. Lover of all things creative. You can find me blogging here: https://thewakingezine.wordpress.com and here: http://softlyspokensimplysaid.blogspot.com :)
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