The last month, and especially the last week, we have been bombarded with heavy “LOVE” messages. Heck, WalMart literally had their Valentine’s aisle halfway complete before Christmas Day…December 23rd, to be exact (I have photo proof if you want it).
Pinkness and redness have been nauseatingly displayed in every form: cards, flowers, candies, sweaters, cereal, sunglasses, mugs, etc. You couldn’t “swing a dead cat” (David’s altered metaphor) without hitting a lovey Valentines thingy. (And today they’re all on clearance for 50% off)
So many people (mostly guys) don’t like Valentine’s Day. They claim that you shouldn’t just show your loved ones your love one day a year. And they’re absolutely right. You shouldn’t. My mom, especially, always made Valentines Day something fun and celebratory, yet I felt her love and my family’s love 24/7/365. But February 14 was a day of special celebration. I look at it as a day to remind us of the importance and celebration of the privilege of sharing and showing love.
Sometimes I wonder if men wave the “Valentines-Day-is-unnecessary” flag because they just don’t want to feel the pressure…they don’t want to have to go stand with 10 other men at the greeting card display, looking for that one card that remotely says what they maybe kinda feel…which doesn’t exist…and costs as much as 3 trips to Starbucks. They don’t want to run last minute to the flower cooler at the grocery store, looking for the perfect flower arrangement (“Wait…does she like roses or daisies? and what the heck is a baby’s breath??”) It’s confounding, confusing and contrary to their makeup (well, for most men anyway.)
I am blessed with a husband that shows me his love all year long. This year, he started with a miniature, simple but so-cute card on the bathroom counter, sending me on a treasure hunt. That led me to finding a hand-made card in the pantry with some amazing chocolates attached, then on to a beautifully wrapped box in our entertainment center that held another Willow Tree Angel, the ones I collect. It was a girl holding up a bunch of yellow flowers in her skirt. Her name is Sunshine…and David told me it was because I love yellow flowers and that I was his sunshine.
My love language is gifts…not big expensive fancy gifts…to be honest, I prefer small, thought-through, unique, even hand-made gifts, with me specifically in mind. This is not “natural” for David. And I would venture a guess that it’s not natural to most men…and this has taken me a long time to get over lol Years ago, when I read a statistic or fact or whatever that most men don’t actually like buying greeting cards, but that they do it anyway because they know their wives/girlfriends/mothers/daughters like getting them, that broke my little heart. I thought, “He doesn’t WANT to get me a card? He’s FORCED to because he knows it’s the way to make me happy? He does it because i “expect” it? You mean to tell me he’s standing there at the Hallmark store, muttering like Dastardly Dog under his breath (‘sassenfraschentasschen’) because he feels as if he’s put out about getting me a little card?” Yes…to all of the above. But he has LEARNED my love language. And I would say, most of the time, he gets it right.
But love isn’t just buying the right card, choosing the right bouquet of roses, going out to the right restaurant…love is so much deeper than that. Love is so much broader and stronger and louder than that. True love involves some kind of sacrifice.
I read a story once by one of my favorite authors that touched me in the deepest part of my heart and has stuck with me ever since I read it. It was about a family in the local Buddhist community. A three year old girl in the next town over was diagnosed with leukemia. She needed a massive blood transfusion or she would die. Everyone in her family was tested to see who would be the best blood donor. It was her ten year old brother. Their parents asked him if he was willing to do this. He said he needed some time to think. A full day later, he said yes, he would do it.
At some time later, he was hospitalized, prepped, and lay on a gurney, hooked up to the blood donor equipment. His blood filled a liter bag. He was very pale. The nurse bent over him, and asked if he was okay. He said, “Yes.” Then he asked quietly, “How soon until I start to die?
Just let that sink in for a minute…………….
We get to choose to love like that every single day, We get to practice stepping out of our comfort zone, reaching down deep into our hearts and pulling out sacrificial love. We were made FROM love. We are made OF love. We are made FOR love. God made sure when he made us that we had plenty of that kind of love to pull from.
There are lots of stories of love and sacrifice that defy explanation. You’ve probably heard many of your own. And maybe one of those stories happened to you. Maybe not that someone risked their life to save yours, but just some amazing, sacrificial act of love that makes your jaw drop and your heart swell.
You know, love is so very important to God. And, as this author also said, it’s all we take with us when we cross over to the other side of eternity…the love we give and the love we receive.
That little 10-year-old boy’s love for his sister was a miracle. Love is a miracle. Loving sacrificially…loving with abandon…loving to the point that we are willing to spend our time, share our treasure, even lose our lives to love someone else…loving with no expectation of anything good in return…except the knowledge that we did exactly what we were created to do. Miracle!