Monday, February 14, 2011

In Celebration of Love


I used to dread this day every year.

February 14th.  Valentine's Day.

Actually, "dread" is perhaps too small a word for what I felt.  I think "despise with a passion" might be a little more accurate.

It began, I think, way back in those days when we were expected to bring Valentine's cards for everyone in our class.  But not everyone brought something for each person in the class.  They only brought them for the kids in their circle, the popular ones, the ones they actually liked.  And I was never one of them.

I was an outcast.  An awkward, shy, too-big-for-her-age outcast with crazy hair and crooked teeth.

And nothing made that clearer to me than on days like this one, when the evidence of my acceptance was laid out plain for all to see.

Over the ensuing years, Valentine's Day became a kind of symbol to me, a yearly reminder that the love and acceptance I desperately longed for were always out of reach.  Shame held me tight and told me over and over that I would never be loved, never be accepted.  And I believed every word.

But Shame was wrong.

I remember the year my opinion of Valentine's Day began to change.  I was 22 years old.  I had dreaded the Fourteenth of February just as every year before.  But when the day finally came, a sweet friend showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, her arms laden with a bouquet of pink and white tulips.  She knew of my disdain for this day, knew that it shouted loud about rejection and unworthiness, knew that I desperately needed to be loved on this day of hard reminders.

And something in me came alive that day.

Oh, I still had years of laboring before I would be free from the grip of Shame.  Years of learning to love and be loved in ways I hadn't known before.  Years of opening up the soul and letting healing--and Healer--work their way deep.

But something beautiful began that day.

The tangible, surprising, tulip-filled love of a friend spoke volumes to me about the Lover of My Soul, the One Who had always loved me with an unfailing love, the One Who would keep on loving me for all eternity. 

Finally I started to see.  This Day of Love was not an ugly reminder of what I didn't have.  It was a celebration of all that I did have.  I was loved.  Maybe I hadn't known it for years and years of life.  Maybe it didn't look the way I wanted it to or thought it should.  Maybe it was different than what other people had.  But it was love, all the same.

And in a world full of hurt and broken souls, I didn't want to miss any more chances to celebrate love.

Seven years later, on this Fourteenth Day of February, I am breathing deep, relishing the celebration, and giving thanks for every drop of love He's given me.


Happy Valentine's Day, Dear Friends.

You are loved.




Still counting the endless stream of His love....

#104  Cold winds that make me want to bury my face--but instead I look up and see Him in the clouds.

#105  Creative deliberation paying off, leading to something beautiful

#106  Art project so beautiful that I want to keep going just to see it take shape

#107  Boxes of tea coming home to fill up the empty shelves

#108  Happy little teacups that bring inspiration for a tea party

#109  Tea bag wisdom:  "Sipping thoughts of Peace, Hope floats my way."

#110  Early morning arising after sleepless night

#111  First amaryllis blooms laying out horizontal, taking on the color of tangerines

#112  The way peanut butter and apples are so very different and yet so very perfect for each other

#113  Spice cranberry juice in a pink, heart-covered mug

#114  One patch of sunset sky glimpsed through trees and houses

#115  Morning snuggles with Annabelle Cat

#116  Curls that actually curl--making me look like a girl instead of a lion

#117  Annabelle Cat curled up beneath my chair while I pour over soul-food

#118  Tangerine-colored trumpets opening atop the amaryllis to greet the sun

#119  Pink rose petal flecks visible in my teabag

#120  Long leaf shadows on lime-green metal

#121  God's version of a Happy Light--sunshine so brilliant I have to turn off every light in the house just to keep from being blinded

#122  Sun-filled photo shoot with Amaryllis the Giant

#123  Driving with the sun roof open in the second week of February

#124  Royal blue sky at dawn

#125  Being named by Him, being named His

#126  Afternoon of sunshine and book reading

#127  Amber tea liquid pouring into glass

#128  Sunlight landing on yarn-blanket the color of Autumn

#129  Perfectly pink cup and saucer

#130  Red heart hovering at the bottom of my tea

#131  Cat sneaking into the closet for the umpteenth time

#132  Waking up slow

#133  Second amaryllis bud growing tall and straight, towering over leaves

#134  Hot shower first thing in the morning

#135  Finding rhythm in a hard song

#136  Eastern horizon glowing beneath a clouded sky

#137  Clouds thinning out, letting the blue filter through

#138  Wind making the tree tips dance in morning light

#139  Freshly vacuumed carpet

#140  Unexpected laughter

#141  Saturday afternoon storm

#142  The sound of hard rain splattering against window glass

#143  Clean laundry, folded and back in place

#144  Bedtime snuggles with Buddy Cat while the heating pad gets hot

#145  Quirky old man driving seafoam-green van, bringing laughter to ordinary day

#146  Three skeins of yarn to finish my blanket--and an 84% discount

#147  Valentine's Day--a day to celebrate love

#148  Memory of tulips showing up on my doorstep, of love showing up on my doorstep

#149  Laura--giver of tulips, giver of love

#150  The Lover of My Soul

#151  The way He endlessly pursue me

#152  The way He endlessly pursue us all

4 comments:

  1. it is always amazing to me how He shows Himself through the love of others around us.

    and i want to come over and drink some tea with you from one of those fabulous pink mugs.

    i want to catch up and laugh and cry with you and tell you how much you and your friendship means to me.

    you *are* loved...and i'm so thankful for you.

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  2. you are loved every day of the year and every day of your life. I know the outcast feeling, and not getting the love that you think you need, but God knows the best love to give and he gives abundantly. By the way, lots of people love you, too!

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  3. I’m here today from Ann’s. I know it’s Thursday and the linky is on Monday – but getting through them all to get to yours took some time :)

    First – I totally get the Old Valentine’s day New Valentines day thing. I do.

    And my fave from your list - #151 The way He endlessly pursue me (and the next one – Like a light in the window Love calls us in from the dark – like a tireless suitor Heaven pursues our hearts – amen)

    God Bless and Keep You and yours

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