Becoming Holy

Happy Valentine’s Day

on February 15, 2013

abstract_love_heart_background_148559Happy Valentine’s Day!  Today has been a day of blessings from start to finish with many lessons of true love sprinkled throughout!   It started with Prince Charming awakening me and enticing me out of the house with promises of Dutch Brothers coffee and flowers.  We grabbed our jackets and stepped out into the crisp, morning air.  The sun was just coming up~beautiful!  The coffee~delicious!  I chose a gorgeous coral azalea plant for my Valentine flowers.  We bought red carnations and baby’s breath for the kids.  It was that simple, sweet togetherness that spoke to my soul.  The togetherness made me more mindful of those dear friends we have who have lost their spouse in recent days.  What does Valentine’s Day hold for them?  Is it all the more painful to watch the world celebrate love when one’s spouse is gone?

I am so touched by two young women at church~siblings~ who lost their dad a year ago.  They were working together to make sure their mom had a valentine surprise despite the fact that they are both away at college.  It was a gift to see the love they have for their mom to make sure she knows how loved she is by them.  It inspired an awareness in me that I need to pursue future Valentine’s days with a new heart!   On Christmas day, a dear friend lost his wife and this past week, another dear friend lost his.  Both were long-lasting marriages and extraordinary examples of living out the vocation of marriage.  Joe and I look to both couples as examples to emulate.  We have watched them live out their vows and are reminded of our own.  Twenty-three years ago this month, we each promised to be true to one another “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.”  We also promised to love and honor one another all the days of our lives.  We chose that line over the “til death to us part.”  I don’t think death will part us.  I am watching these widowed gentlemen and I see that death has not parted them from their spouses.  Though each has been deeply wounded by the loss of his wife, each also continues to live with his spouse deeply connected to him.

On Facebook, I saw a cartoon of St. Valentine, holding his head in his hands, greeting a couple at their dinner table.  He told them about his love for Christ and how he was willing to be tortured for the love of Jesus.  A friend of mine had added the comment, “Now, please pass the chocolates.”  It struck me how easily distracted I can be from the true meaning of love to the one that is advertised.  I have heard so many men express how difficult Valentine’s Day can be~that they are set up to fail.  They feel they cannot do or buy enough to measure up to expectations of the women in their lives.  Some of them continue to buy gifts while mumbling under their breath, some of them choose to do nothing.  Neither of those approaches seem to be a celebration of love.  Valentine’s Day is a glorious feast day, reminding us to love~not to buy or sulk at what isn’t bought.

At the end of the day, we talked about what Valentine’s Day needs to be in our home.  In my heart, I believe it should be a day of reaching out, in love, to everyone around us.  Whether they be recently widowed, single, going through divorce, happily married or in any other circumstance~the people in our lives will be joyful recipients of Valentine love.  Celebrating love needs to begin in our homes, but true love is exponential.  It always reaches beyond ourselves.  It bursts from our hearts out into the community and blesses everyone in its path.  

Valentine’s Day has a special new look to me~it does not belong to the world, but to the one who taught us how to love.  Valentine’s Day was a complete gift to me as I looked around and saw the “love” the world offers and saw the true love that Christ brings.  We are each of us, in our own way, seeking True Love.  We may not know what we are seeking, but we know it once we’ve found it.  “We love because He first loved us.”  1 John 4-19.  Happy Valentine’s Day, dear friends. 

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