30 Days of Love: 27/30
Today everybody hopes be somebody's Valentine, and having someone to call your own on this day is what we understand Valentine's Day to be all about. It is such a big deal that Valentine's Day is the second most widely celebrated holiday in the world – only New Year's is bigger(1) (But New Years happens to all us, whereas we are not all fortunate enough to be in love every Feb. 14.) The namesake of this day, St. Valentine, is the epitome of courtly love (yea - bring on the chocolate and roses!), but the tradition of Valentinus begins in celebrating his determination to minister to those who were not part of mainstream Roman society, in particular Christians, when doing so was a crime. While the historical record of his acts is obscure, Valentinus was eventually imprisoned, and finally executed, for his support of Christianity and for performing weddings of Roman soldiers, forbidden to marry by Roman law(2). (Ironic given that same-sex partners of American military personnel are only now being allowed access to some, but not all spousal benefits.)
Valentinus went to his end courageously, and the phrase, "from your Valentine" is reputed to be how he signed a letter to his jailer's daughter shortly before his execution on February 14. Let's be so courageous ourselves in Standing on the Side of Love today and everyday. Let's declare February 14 National Standing on the Side of Love Day, in celebration of a person who did right by others by extending to them the rights they were denied by people in power and a society that rejected them. Happy National Standing on the Side of Love Day!