By Reba Phelps
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be filled with love, roses, chocolates, romantic dinners, and larger than life gestures to make up for a year’s worth of possible wrongs or minor neglects. UNLESS…you’re going through the throws of a divorce.
Divorce after 22 years of marriage, two amazingly resilient and beautiful daughters, and one questionable Jack Russell Terrier is enough to make even the purest of hearts a little faint.
Having barely made it through the first round of holidays since the separation with the help of good friends, lots of bible study, a few bottles of wine, and more tears than I care to admit I’d completely forgotten about the beast named “Valentine’s Day.” During a conversation with a friend I admitted that I hated the holiday.
As soon as the words left my mouth I questioned why I’d blame this innocent holiday for my present situation or even have ill will towards anyone enjoying the most needless day of the February calendar. My friend reminded me that maybe I just haven’t had a good experience on Valentine’s Day.
With the sharp memory of any woman scorned I scoured the past 22 years of Valentine’s Days. There were good, bad and funny memories, like the year we bought each other the same greeting card.
I didn’t want to live the rest of my adult life with hate in my heart for this holiday, so I went on a one woman mission to have a positive experience for Valentine’s Day. Should I send flowers to myself or buy myself an expensive purse I can ill afford with one daughter in college and another who spends all of our earthly treasures buying slime making supplies? Do I buy my own card and tell myself how special I am? I couldn’t begin to imagine any of these ideas garnering the miraculous results I was looking for.
Thinking outside the box I decided to put others before myself and see how “the other side” enjoys this holiday. In my mind “the other side” is the happily married, soon to be married, or the blissfully dating (blissfully unaware stage).
I offered to help my friend Nicole Ezernack, owner of Nicole’s Creative Flowers, during this “Super Bowl” of floral events.
We made several deliveries through the parish. Each recipient was ecstatic to receive a delivery, but there was one that completely stole my heart.
I arrived at a local nursing home and announced the name for my delivery. The receptionist’s face lit up with excitement, so I assumed she was the lucky lady. However, she sent me down the hall to deliver the goodies. Excitement was building with each step I took.
When I reached the right room and announced the lady’s name she threw her bed covers back, sat straight up in bed and said, “Who are these from? I don’t have my glasses, read it for me!”
I’m not sure who was more excited. Me or her? Fumbling around I opened her card and read a loving message from her son. Tears filled her eyes as she proclaimed, “That’s my son, he loves his mom very much.”
I could feel the pure joy and love she had for her son and I couldn’t control my pwn tears.
While there was a lot of whining and complaining on my part about this holiday I realized that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romantic love. It can be the love shared between parents and children. It can be shared with best friends and coworkers. Valentine’s Day can even be enjoyed while going through the worst life change imaginable.
Hebrews 13:16 also reminds us, “Do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” We can never go wrong when we step outside of our own pain and think of others first.