Friday was Valentine’s Day. Yep. Again. It comes around every year and I’ve learned that there is no fence riding on this issue– you either love it or hate it. You are either one of the thousands that enjoy gushing over your significant other, a crush, a friend, children, the hypothetical imaginary love that you could meet at any second….or….maybe your…cat…..
You hate it. You dread that day and all it represents. Being alone is not a prerequisite for hating the holiday. You may hate it on principle… Valentine’s Day is a materialistic, unnecessary cash cow for Russel Stover. Do you know how many times I have heard, “Everyday is Valentine’s for us,” ” We appreciate each other everyday...” etc?
Or you loathe the crowds and the red and pink and the overpriced roses and the thought that whatever you do “won’t be enough…” or …. you are alone. And it makes you cry.
I can honestly say that I have experienced a Valentine’s Day that falls in every single one of these categories.
At sixteen, I was convinced I could change a certain football player’s mind and my heart thudded so loud I was sure everyone could hear it and I would pass out as I hid chocolate in my crush’s locker.
I watched my sister receive jewelry, candy, flowers and no one knew I existed.
At twenty, I had a full on meltdown. The aloof boyfriend drove to Athens on V-day and spent the whole day getting a racing bicycle fitted and NOT with me. My Dad also drove all the way to Athens (on the same day) to bring me flowers and chocolate. The meltdown consisted of screaming into his voice mail: “I WAS RAISED THAT VALENTINE’S DAY MEANS SOMETHING! I LOVE YOU SO GET OVER IT!” We broke up two weeks later.
There are no mild emotions in the world of Valentine’s. And that’s OK.
Flash forward to now. Thanks to the Snowpocalype 2014 and a weird work week, Valentine’s day had the potential to be a dud this year. But it wasn’t.
I picked up groceries and we cooked. Together. And indulged in House of Cards. Romantic, I know.
And then we spent all day Saturday together.
And we talked about how, almost 8 years ago we happened upon each other, never imaging that we would be partnered for life.
And we chuckled about how I threw myself at him. I told him to take me to dinner. Thankfully he listened.
Years ago I heard a quote: “You cannot make someone love you. You can only stalk them until they panic and hope they give in.” I have no idea where this originated (if you can tell me, please do….) however, this is how I have lived my life. Most of you…if you know me personally can give examples of what this looks like in practice, but basically, I pick my people. For my whole life, I have seen people, envisioned a life with them and pursued it. From my two best friends in high school, my spouse and those closest to me now, I chose them. I pursued them. And while I have gone through some awkward moments of having to explain my crazy, my life is better for it. Some, seem not to have given in yet, but I’m not giving up.
The point here is that I can be a little…..unrelenting when it comes to relationship. I’m told that it can be scary and bit overwhelming, but once I decide to love you…. all bets are off.
See, I believe this is how we are called to love. Not in a safe, boxed in, PC, walking on eggshells, sideways mention of affection, but rather in a radical, earth shattering pursuit of relationship. The kind of love that invites friends to be family, feeds strangers, moves to scary places, and sacrifices both the tangible and intangible to experience a love that reflects the Father.
Because our Father loves us; in an unrelenting fashion.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Did you get that? While we were still sinners….
Christ. died. for. Us.
Having limited Himself by giving us free will, God the Father, without any surety that His sacrifice wouldn’t be in vain, was left with merely the hope of relationship with His children. And propelled by a love so strong He put it all on the line, and suffered an excruciating death so that we could be with Him in eternity. All earthly love pales in the face of this.
And so my heart has been challenged this week. I heard frat boys in Kroger fret about the color of roses and lament, “nah, I did the whole girlfriend thing and I’m gonna just play the field….”
Our Father in Heaven sends His Spirit to pursue us, drawing us unto Him, knowing that if but turn our face to Him, He will answer with exactly what we need and a love that will sustain us in this life and into the next. Not fickle, not conditional, continuous and unyielding.
In contrast, how often have we played the field, or turned our nose at this wondrous gift?
I want to live in love. I want to love in a way that reflects the face of Christ. Even if I am not loved back. For my friends that are alone I hope I can show them the divine love they are covered with, even with no earthly valentine.
I pick my people. God picked you.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34-35