Conversation heart candies, bunches of folded hearts cut from construction paper in every shade of pink and red.. It’s a familiar scene – the February holiday equally longed for and dreaded by both genders alike, from Pre-K to the cubicle and the executive’s office. Far from its namesake, [St.] Valentine’s brings good news of great infatuation to some.
As a youngster, I wasn’t exactly flooded with valentines. The day held relatively little meaning for me personally, though I saw the highs and contrasting lows it brought to friends around me. While it was no milestone day for me, I can’t say I didn’t wish some years for a folded piece of paper, or some trifling candies to find their way to me from some secret, or not-so-secret admirer.
– But that was it. On the day our Nation sets aside most visibly to love, my biggest wish was for trifles. And I have it on good authority I was far from alone.
This year, my first Valentine’s Day as a married man, I spent the entire week working from home as I could, caught up in the not-so-rapturous delights of the Flu. My thermometer dial seemed intent on competing with the approximate surface temperature of the sun, and my lungs, not to mention all my other internal organs, seemed quite set on declaring their sovereign independence from the body in which they resided. Put simply, it’s been years since I’ve felt so miserable.
Meanwhile, my beautiful and caring wife would come home from long, often-frustrating days at work, and transition without a blink into a one-woman housekeeper, chef, and triage nurse. As couples the nation over went to fancy restaurants, to the movies, or on more specialized dates, my wife spent Valentine’s Day night eating carryout pizza out of the box, in our bedroom, trying to catch lines of Arrested Development in between my hacking coughs.
She was tired, fighting off a bit of a cold herself, her hair seeming to comically mirror the fraying ends of my brain as she would pull them back up into a messy post-work bun.
According to all secular guidelines, it had to be the record-least romantic night of all recorded Valentine’s Days – certainly for her.
And yet, Ladies and Gentlemen…
Never had my wife’s love burned more clearly or brightly, an innocent, everyday unassuming beauty of character that renders all else lesser by comparison.
In that moment, my wife was such an image-bearer of her Heavenly Father that I could not help but see His heart lived through her.
Ladies: That is how you make sure your man knows he could never do better than you.
Men: There is no peace, no comfort, no blissful, childish-giggle-enducing joy like having a woman who loves you in those rock-bottom moments, without a second’s hesitation.
My Dearest Wife: In the words of one of our more favorite songs,
“Well I’ve seen you in jeans,
With no makeup on.
And I’ve stood there in awe,
As your date for the prom.
I’m blessed as a man,
To have seen you in white.
But I’ve never seen anything
Quite like you tonight.”
When we look for trifles, and trifling infatuation, that’s the most we’re likely to receive. Look for love, true love: Love in action. Love that’s hiking up it’s sleeves and pushing its hair back behind its ears, love that is at work, out to make a difference, not out to be noticed. That is the love I’ve found in my dearest friend. Andrea, I could never love you more, and I could never show it enough, but here’s just a little piece vocalized.
Ich liebe Dich, meine schöne Schatzin!