The girls here at The Wonders of Womanhood are split on their perception of Valentine’s Day. Some think it’s a wonderful day…others think its a commercialized, unnecessary, gooey-filled gross holiday that induces hate. Haha! We’ll let you decide!

Regardless of your perspective, Valentine’s Day can serve as a wonderful opportunity for renewal; renewal of love, of course, but also of friendship.

My first memory of Valentine’s day was sitting in my kitchen the night-before (yes, I called it Valentine’s Eve) and writing a Valentine’s Day card for every student in my class so I could hand them out the next day. Being part of this annual ritual brought me up with the understanding that Valentine’s Day was about friendship and reminding those around you that their friendship was valued. In fact, for many, many years of my life, dating and love had nothing to do with my Valentine’s Day experience.

So rather than holing up on this red, pink and white holiday and bemoaning your single-status, here is a chance for you to re-evaluate and re-strengthen your friendships.

It’s about the people you let into your life – your family, your co-workers, lost loves and those who have left us. It’s about the shared experiences, the people who are alongside you when you are dreaming – who come into your life and leave an imprint in your heart that aches with joy long after they are gone.

How many friends do you have that you would call if you were in trouble? How many friends do you have that you could really count on, that remember things that are important to you, and never fail to show that they are thinking of you?

For me, real friendship is the kind that develops when two people click in a way that is, well, magical! It’s when silences are no longer awkward, when you know what the other person is thinking before they have even finished saying something, when they rejoice in all of your strengths and all of your flaws, when you never have to hold back who you are, because they love everything about you anyways.

Maybe I’m getting a little sentimental about friendship after watching seasons 4-8 of Scrubs, and watching Turk and J.D. sing about their love (yes, that’s right, they are singing about their love). And while they both seem incredible dorky, at least they have the guts to be real friends.

When I watch that video I always end up thinking about what defines true friendship. How many friends do you have, that you see in your life 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years from now? Have you ever thought about what your life would be like without them? When was the last time you thanked your friends for sticking by you? When was the last time you told them you loved them (or showed them if you aren’t comfortable with saying it)?

Every friendship is different, and how you rejoice in it is personal – but Monday February 14th, 2011, is an opportunity to remind friends that your appreciate them, to connect better with loved ones, to find a time that day/week to spend some quality time together and to remind yourself how blessed you are.

In an Ally McBeal episode, two friends – a powerful, rich CEO and a janitor ended up going to court. The CEO had a bad heart condition and he was going to die within a few months. His good friend, the janitor, wanted the courts to allow him to undergo a surgery where they could trade hearts – he wanted to give his friend a longer life. He wasn’t offered money – he was doing it for friendship. I won’t spoil the episode for you (it’s called “Alone Again”, and its a season finale), but Ally makes a wonderful comment about friendship: imagine not only what kind of man you have to be to give up your own heart (courageous, brave and loving), but imagine what kind of man you have to be for someone to want to give up their heart for you. You can truly judge the character of a person by their friends.

Valentine’s Day, to me, is about honouring those people who have symbolically given up their hearts for you, and would give you their heart physically in an instant. Its about those people who you love – who make your life better and brighter, even if in just a small way. It means cherishing those you love – parents, friends, significant others, etc. You don’t have to be dating or in love to recognize that in this numbing world, any day that encourages you to feel and share the blessings you have in your life is a day worth celebrating.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

~ The Wonders of Womanhood Team