St. Valentine’s Story
Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine. I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long, long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. I didn’t like Emperor Claudius, and I wasn’t the only one! A lot of people shared my feelings.
Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn’t going to support that law!
Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favorite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage ceremonies — secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.
One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death.
I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window. They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, “Love from your Valentine.”
I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh — because they know that love can’t be beaten!
A true story
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Slow Down Or Stop
A man was driving down a local street one day and approached a stop sign. He barely slowed down and ran right through the stop sign after glancing for traffic.
What the driver didn’t know was that a policeman was watching the intersection. The policeman pulled out after him and stopped the car two blocks away.
Policeman: “License, registration and proof of insurance please.”
Driver: “Before I give it to you, tell me what the heck you stopped me for.”
Policeman: “Watch your tone sir; you ran the stop sign back there.”
Driver: “Man, I slowed down, what the heck is the difference?”
The police officer pulled out his night stick and began smashing it over the man’s head and shoulders.
Policeman: “Now, do you want me to just slow down or stop?
Pig Drawing Test
If the pig is drawn:
Toward the top of the paper – You have a tendancy to be positive and optimistic.
Toward the middle – You have a tendency to be a realist.
Toward the bottom – You have a tendency to be pessimistic and may be prone to behaving negatively.
Facing left – You have a tendency to believe in tradition and be friendly; you may also be prone to remembering dates well.
Facing Right – You have a tendency to be innovative and active, but may be prone to forgetting dates easily and may not have a strong sense of family.
Facing front – You have a tendency to be direct, and may enjoy playing the role of devil’s advocate; you also are prone to neither fearing nor avoiding confrontational discussions.
With many details – You have a tendency to be analytical, but may also be prone to being cautious to the point that you struggle with trust.
With few details – You have a tendency to be emotional and to focus on the larger picture rather than focusing on details. You also have a tendency to be a great risk taker and may sometimes be prone to reckless and impulsive decisions.
With less than 4 legs showing – May indicate that you are living through a major period of change and as a result you may be prone to struggling with insecurities.
With 4 legs showing – You have a tendency to be secure and to stick to your ideals; however, others may describe you as stubborn.
With large ears – Indicates how good of a listener you are (the bigger, the better).
With a long tail – Indicates the quality of your love life (the longer, the better)