I've had complex feelings about Valentine's Day most of my adult life. I was married to a recovering addict for many years. Relapses were sure to occur Christmas, my birthday (12/24), and New Years Eve. There simply wasn't enough time to heal and forgive before Valentine's Day came about. And so I developed a habit of rolling my eyes when I saw heart-shaped balloons at the market.
Fast forward to my last Valentine's Day as a married woman. My brother was visiting from L.A.. My husband had just returned from camping (allegedly) when he took me aside to say, "I'll be moving out. Not to worry. God will send someone to take my place."
Um, Okay. I swallowed the pain and in typical doormat fashion, cooked a beautiful dinner for my family. I didn't have the heart to not give him a gift on this special holiday, so I purchased a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Thin mints. The cookie of champions. (I have a great deal of compassion for the woman I once was.)
I've only dated one man since my divorce. He was very charming. Too charming. It would be indiscreet of me to share the details of our relationship. But suffice to say, it ended abruptly after 4-ish months when he realized I was serious about saving myself for marriage. Who gets dumped five days before Valentine's Day? Yours, truly. Naturally, Valentine's Day threw up all over the city that year. It practically rained heart-shaped balloons.
If you follow me, you know I have consider stores of bohemian humor. Laughter is one of God's greatest gifts. And crying. The curse is to be numb. (I've been there, too.) So I drag my sad self to Sports Academy, where Voila!, I acquire a date for Valentine's Day! Because necessity is the mother of invention, I made myself a Wilson.
Me and Wilson. Going strong since 2015. Not to brag, but he's an actor. Perhaps you saw his work in Top Gun and Cast Away.
This year on Valentine's Day, my heart warms when I see Wilson. And nothing is more fun than sharing that story with other women. That silly volleyball is a gift that keeps on giving. What could have been lasting "bad" memory has morphed into something I sincerely find funny. Know what I did today? I bought myself a box of thin mints. Oh yes I did!
The past two years go unparalleled in what God's shown me about loving myself. It began with a prayer: Father in heaven, In the name of Christ, I ask for the greatest gift of all . . . A love that allows me to be at ease with myself when life isn't' easy.
God commands us to love others as we love ourselves. But do we really know what this means? The take away for me is that the will of God always begins within. The question isn't what shall I do next, but rather, will I yield to the Love who resides within me and allow Him to shape me in such a way that the desires of my heart are fulfilled naturally.
This Valentine's Day, cry if you must. But allow room for laughter. Ask God to give you something to laugh about if you're going solo.
Let God love you so you can get on with the business of loving others as you love yourself.
Next blog: We'll unpack Mark 12:30-31; The greatest commandment.
"Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself."
Peace out Bohemians!
Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 5:57 PM CDT