FLOWERING OF THOUGHT: Heart on sleeve, hidden heart
Apart from the 14th of February, when we celebrate the memorial of the saints named Valentine, we can remember them in the English word valiant, which is synonymous with courage, which has Latin roots that denote the heart, which is the most recognizable symbol of Valentines’ Day.
With the commercialization of the internet, inescapable have some advertisements become. Even without an active social media account, one is able, in the runup to Valentines come across customized for the holy day advertisements while waiting for videos to load on YouTube.
Two such advertisements must have gone viral, tackling as they do wedding proposals and singlehood, which are trendy topics this time of year. These short movies, for movies they are have understandably turned viral as they hit the Filipino appetite for melodrama and “hugot” (wisdom earned from hard, raw experience).
The first centers on a young man’s failure to enter into engagement with a young lady and follows him into depression all the way to the light of a new beloved and eventual fiancee. The second tells the story of a single lady’s realization that her search for love was somewhat blinkered as she had grown in sadness following poor relationships with men that in turn made her belittle the love that was hers in her family.
If these fast food advertisements are any indication of the future, then audiences should expect more of the same next year, when Valentines’ Day would be once again just around the corner.
Without meaning to undermine the good messages from the advertisements that do bear repeating (heartbreak does not always culminate in heartbreak, if one is only patient; love is not really the rarity that many make it to be, but in fact is so ubiquitous, it drives life), viewers should also learn to receive advertisements critically.
Fast food need not be the only kind of shared meal, nor a fast food joint the only meeting place within the mise en scene of loving relationships. Perhaps occasions like Valentines’ would be enhanced by a gathering or a date at home, with persons and their loved ones preparing and sharing a slow cooked meal together or, unlike on busy weeknights, simply ensuring that they are all at home, with not one household member out late due to work overtime or asleep early due to overwork.
Perhaps proposals need not be the only weighty moment in a person’s life, as if all other moments are under some sentence to be drab or gray or “so-so.” How wonderful life might be if every other person injected a morning or night greeting with life-giving zest, making things like this part of what Kahlil Gibran calls the dew in which the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. How beautiful this life can be if we are fully present to each other each moment.
Perhaps love need not be a trophy that should be displayed to the world through a social network status update, the better to confirm its validity with the help of crowd-sourced engagements and reactions, confirmations that one has, in the words of Dietrich von Hildebrand, won some great lottery of life. Love shines, but is not theatrics.
Perhaps it is sustaining the world in the silent, far from the spotlight work of a fast food employee who only keeps of his earnings what he needs to survive and gives all his savings to a family for whom he has, by circumstance and only gradually by his freedom been serving as breadwinner.
Perhaps love is sustaining the world in the hidden generosity of a young woman who, unable to afford food at a fast food joint makes sandwiches in her kitchen to give to children in the streets.
Television advertisements may associate purchasing products with scenes of love, but love, to be genuine, need not be telegenic.
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