As I drove the first half of our trip home at dusk on Friday, I took a peek around me. The car was filled with a loving quiet. My husband breathed deeply, asleep in the passenger seat. One furry bundle, Kelly, slept at his feet; while Paigey snored softly, curled in a ball in her carseat in the back. I felt complete, whole, satiated.
We’d driven four hours earlier this morning to visit Don’s brother, Wally, who has been in severe pain due to a break in his vertebrae. We didn’t want to overtire him, knowing he was weak. But that morning Don and I decided we needed to take the day and make a spontaneous trip.
At Palm Village, I took Kelly and Paige for a walk while Don went up to visit Wally. After our “rounds”, the girls and I were walking back toward the entrance when I saw someone wave. It was Wally’s son John. He and I sat on a bench outside in the sunshine, the girls at our feet, and enjoyed visiting until Don came outside and told me Wally was waiting for me. I knocked on the door and entered.
His voice was weak. I didn’t stay long; it was evident Wally was ready to sleep. But before I left I leaned over to kiss his cheek. Wally placed his hand on my back and, weak as he was, pulled me close. “I’m so glad you and Don have each other because I know you really love each other and love God.” I treasure those precious words and Wally’s hug.
After picking up some Kentucky Fried Chicken we met John and his wife, Norma, at the Reedley Beach. We picnicked among lush green grass and weeds as we enjoyed our light meal and meaningful conversation, the girls exploring the nearby grounds.
So when we headed for home, we felt full – full of food, but especially full of love. While we’ve commercialized Valentine’s Day, it is a celebration of love, which comes in many packages, colors, sizes. Perhaps it’s time spent with a single friend; a phone call to one’s parent or children; a child’s unexpected, whisper-soft kiss on our lips, or the unadulterated joy of a loved pet greeting us on return. Maybe it’s a romantic dinner for two, sweet sentiments in cards, or Sherri’s Berries delivered to the door. It may be a thank you from someone whose journey you have made a little easier in some way. Whether you are blessed with a loving partner, as I am, or are single, parent- or childless, there are opportunities for both giving and receiving love all around us. I felt deep contentment that night, knowing Don and I had been right where God wanted us to be that day and that I had spent time with some of the people I love most.
…But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
(From the Apostle Paul’s great Love chapter, I Corinthians 13, THE MESSAGE)
I pray that your Valentine’s Day has been filled with meaningful love, and that love–God’s, family’s, friends’–will encourage and sustain you day by day.