Well, it was about this time, six years ago I was preparing to get on a plane and leave the gorgeous weather of California (and lots of other really important things!) for Texas.
In the years since moving to Texas we've had many friends bring cases of divorce across our paths, for advice, support or healing. It's been a very difficult learning curve as most couples we encountered had been married longer than us. Often the pleas were for actions or inaction's and deep down the individual wanting the divorce felt that their spouse not fulfilling a particular task, was somehow saying, "I don't love you."
So the couples would bicker and fight and in the end, they would give up and their inconveniences would come before their promises and they would part ways. In search of something.
Well, we all know what they were searching for, they were searching for unconditional love. Just in all the wrong places. There is only one place that unconditional love can be found. Christ. He and He alone (with the Father and the Spirit, so I guess He's not totally alone!) can provide us with that. No human can fill that void. The void can be caused by many things, but only He is vast enough to fill it completely.
More recently, I've wondered about the other side of the story for all those divorced couples. The ones that eventually gave up, but didn't want the separation, the ones that did not realize their actions, or lack there of was sending the message of "I don't love you". How is it that the arrangement is fair for them? They lose everything, the house, the children, a large portion of their paycheck. They were under the impression that it would only be death that would separate them and now it's their spouse's inconvenience. OUCH! (True this might be a sexist, over generalization of divorce, but it is none the less, what I have encountered more often than not).
So why am I bringing this topic up as we approach the "hallmark" holiday of love? Well, because I don't think it's just a hallmark holiday. Yes, I think you can show your loved ones just how special they are everyday of the week. But you can also take extra care to lavish them with your maximum capacity of love once a year (and no that doesn't just mean spending money). Something that is far more valuable than money is your time and your heart.
It is believed that St. Valentine unlawfully married peoples when the king (or queen, I can't remember) outlawed marriage because single young men made better soldiers than young husbands. When Valentine's actions were discovered he was sentenced to death. While awaiting his execution he fell in love and before his death wrote his lovely lady a letter, signing it "From Your Valentine." The sadness of the story adds to the romanticism of it all and the remarkableness that is love. Even in the darkest hour, awaiting death, Love is there.
The bible says, "...Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.
Love never fails..."
Let's hope we all do a double take as we approach this time of love and make sure we are sending the right message to our loved ones. Take time to fill yourselves up on the unconditional love offered to each of us so you have enough to go around.
O, and it wouldn't kill you to buy her something sparkly or him something shiny=P
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