As the winter begins to glance toward the horizon of promised spring, I find myself piled with mountains of work and before I know it, I find myself heading fast for my arch nemesis without quite realizing how time managed to drag me so close to this annual meeting. Saint Valentine and I might have been friends before his untimely demise but the last decade has discovered me at odds with the day of his celebration. Valentine's Day has historically proven a difficult time for me, as it marks the anniversary and also echoes many of the constituents of my developing post traumatic stress.
Generally I find myself suffering from nightmares throughout the month of January, spreading through February and finally beginning to settle near the end of March. Flashbacks, waking into panic attacks, and even hallucinations have made this time of year a period I tend to dread. Perhaps it was due to spending two Valentine's Days in a row in the emergency room, perhaps it was due to the roaring aggression of a semi converting my car into an accordian while my infant daughter and I spun across three lanes of oncoming freeway traffic inside of it, and certainly it found fuel from long years of abuse that devastated my mind without mercy, leaving me gasping for breath and only holding on to my life and my sanity through the grace and kindness of loving God.
But ah! Dear Valentine's Day! I think we have fought against one another long enough! Shake hands then, and we shall let the bygones remain in the past! I choose to no longer think of your approach as a melancholy reminder of the sickening crunch of twisted metal, or a threat of continued abuse that none can abate. I choose to think of you rather as a reminder of all those things that sought to destroy me but couldn't. Instead of a day of infernal death, I shall remember thee gloriously as a badge of courage and a beacon of survival.
Sometimes we feel we cannot forgive human circumstances, history, or human souls. I understand that in spite of our best efforts, sometimes trauma and fear can keep us at bay. But let us give our all to give an optimistic turn to all our endeavors and every aspect of our lives. Valentine's Day has never begged my pardon, but I gain nothing by allowing pain to permeate my life. So it is with all grudges and negativity. Let us seek out those things, those moments, and those parts of our existences that render us the most pain and give our all to expel negativity. Gentle reader, think on this. If we still hold to enough life to peruse these words, we are not everlasting victims, but survivors.