Happy Valentine’s Day

IMG_9457 As I sat in a memorial today to celebrate the homecoming of a life well lived, I thought about love, life, faith and death. I thought about the wife of the deceased who had been married for 53 years. I thought of the precious lady who sat beside me who, just a few short months ago, had said goodbye to her husband after so many years of loving each other. I thought of the young man I would see just a few minutes later, who just lost his wife to an organ transplant failure. Surrounded by so much grief, I wondered how it could possibly be Valentine’s Day today.

So many getting ready for their ‘hot dates’ tonight. Others bragging about all the candy, cards and roses they had received. My husband and myself exchanging our love just a few hours before, yet, waiting to truly celebrate until tomorrow because of all that we were a part of today. I thought of those who grieve today. I thought of those who are heartbroken, abused, deserted, lost and alone. It’s not such a heart-filled, sunshiny day for those. What do we say to them?

What do we say when our hearts are so filled with joy, excitement and laughter? What do we do when their grief seems to cast a shadow on our smile? Do we tell them just to “Get over it…tomorrow will be brighter…you’ll simply feel better later on…?” Are we really that shallow to forget how it feels to have a shattered dream and an empty heart? Are we really that naive not to know? What are we to do?

As I sat beside my widowed friend, and as I said goodbye to my other friend’s man, my heart broke for their brokenness. My eyes shed tears as they shed. My day was just a little more gray as I encountered my third friend’s grief in saying goodbye to her daughter-in-law and comforting her weeping son. Yet, as I walked away to go have a Valentine’s lunch with my little family, I breathed the air in deeply and thanked my Father above for these moments, not just the joys of my men but, as well, the pains of my friends. These times when I truly see reality. These moments when authenticity, vulnerability and honesty are raw and unedited, exposing the tender hearts within.

For, it is in moments like these when we grow a little wiser. In these hours, we learn to love a little deeper and let our trust become more secure. If it weren’t for the hard places in life, we would never learn where our faith truly lies. We’d never realize the value of a friend, the depth of love in our family, the importance in a given moment. It is said, “There is more wisdom in the house of mourning than in the house of laughter” (Paraphrased, Ecclesiastes 7:2). As my heart broke again and again for my friends, it caused me to appreciate, even more, the later moments with my men. It caused me to be keenly aware of my husband’s handsome smile, my JMan’s innocent laughter, and the love behind JGrizz’s witty remark, “Of course, I love you. It’s Valentine’s Day, isn’t it?” 😉 These precious occasions made me live life a little fuller.

So, as this Valentine’s Day is coming to an end, maybe you’ve spent a wonderful day with your love(s), maybe your dealing with a broken heart from a love that’s been lost, or maybe you’ve recently had to say a heart wrenched goodbye as your love entered eternity. Maybe this day just doesn’t seem as cheer-filled as it once had been, but no matter the circumstance in which you find yourself tonight, I pray you will hold tight the love you have, the joy you once had and the memories you’ve made along the way. I pray you’ll look toward the future and know He is still in control. Look forward and see that there’s still hope. I pray you hold all theses things close to your heart and realize there’s a heavenly Father above who’s looking down and sending you His eternal, unconditional love. YOU are the object of His affection tonight. He truly loves you! His love for is beyond your very hopes and dreams. His love for you died that you might live. ❤

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17