This is not a valentine.

This is not a poem accompanied by flowers and chocolate or an outpouring of romantic affection. This is not a card covered in hearts and filled with reminders of long walks down marble halls or smiling conversations over coffee. This is not an old love letter carefully placed in a scrapbook after summertime thrills smoldered into the colors of autumn.

But this is not a manifesto of independence or a bitter rejection of romance. This is not an invitation to pretend that Valentine’s Day has no meaning, that being single can excuse smugness, or that love doesn’t matter.

This is not a rescue.

This is not a promise that you’ll never face another February without heartache. This is not an assurance that every buried dream will spring to life again or that your perfect soul mate is waiting just around a corner of time. This is not a chorus of well-meaning clichés that may at first ring pleasant but ultimately sound only the hollow sighs of false comfort.

But this is not a resignation to despair or justification of loneliness. This is not an assault of stinging reality against weakened hopes. This is not an admonition to simply give up.

This is an affirmation.

This is a clarion testimony of your value. This is a declaration that you bring delight to those who hold the honor of your friendship, that the vantage point of your experiences allows you to lift the souls of other pioneers, that both your heart and appearance brilliantly reflect the refreshing goodness and breathtaking glory of your Creator.

This is a reminder that you are not defined by the still sand of the past. This is a reassurance that regardless of how many nights you’ve helplessly watched as expectations shatter, there remains an Artist who delights in carefully crafting mosaics and bringing beauty even from ashes. This is a guarantee that your story is far from over, and that your imagined happy endings may be swept aside to make room for far greater adventures.

This is a celebration.

This is an opportunity on a day where we hail the virtues of relationship to declare that no matter how lonely you may feel among couples or crowds, you are not alone. This is a banner declaring that you are deeply cared for, that you have allies in the struggle of life who desire to walk beside you, that the community of those who love you can restore the strength you once found elsewhere. This is a tribute from those who truly see you and recognize the priceless treasure that you still are.

This is not a valentine.

But you’re worth giving more than just a valentine. Happy Valentine’s Day.