I always hated Valentine’s Day. There’s a confession for you. Why did I hate it? Because I was always either single or married to men who really did not appreciate Valentine’s Day as a valid thing or day to celebrate love at all. It was just another day. That bothers me for the same reason my birthday brothers me. I want it to be an enormous deal but apparently I am the only one who feels that way. 🙂 Now don’t get me wrong, I get a few gifts and Birthday wishes trickling in from friends and family here and there and my best friend always loves on me for my birthday, but for Valentine’s Day (2 days prior to my birthday), it has always been a desert wasteland. The problem is that I am a secret romantic and want romance in life and am never is a position to be romanced, it seems. So, Valentine’s Day in general has always been a sad moment, a time of seeing other women getting roses and jewelry (not that those things are necessary) and I don’t even get a card. And there is my life. Evidently “strong”, independent women appear to not need romance in their lives, don’t need to be made to feel important enough to get a small gift and a “thank you for being in my life”. So this year, expected pretty much the same romantic neglect for this romantic commercial holiday and I find myself instead looking at a sweet little gift from a sweet beloved friend and a spark of hope ignites. Maybe acknowledgement from a loved one suffices and can take the place of a long time of cringing at the thought of another disappointing Valentine’s Day. Maybe one dear friend can lift the curse just by encouraging the heart. And maybe we who have always had that trepidation over this holiday can lift each other up and just acknowledge our place in the world. Maybe we could all enjoy this coveted romantic but deeply unnerving day more. It worked for me this year. One friend can make a huge difference. Long live our true loved friends!
Way back around 1990, in the summer, a team of teenagers and adults embarked on a 2-week mission trip to London. After raising our support and spending 9 laborious hours in a flying tin can with many other sardines, we arrived at Heathrow airport. We walked with our luggage to the “tube” (subway) and arrived at our London destination or thereabouts. A double decker red bus finished the job and we arrived at the Church at Manor Way, our home for the duration of our visit. The church members were lovely and even had installed a shower in the impractically small (to us) bathroom so we could shower every day, which always seemed to make them laugh. Cleanliness was comical, which I find comical. 🙂 our mission was to go around for the first week there and pass out leaflets inviting all children to a Holiday Bible Club (like Vacation Bible School here). The second week we taught and acted, put on puppet shows and taught Bible stories and songs, etc. for said Holiday Bible Club. There were a lot of children who came but most seemed mildly enthused at best and I am pretty sure several of them were flipping us off (in their slang motions there) during the motions of one of the songs. Nonetheless, we were able to plant some seeds, however unwanted or unappreciated at the time, and we all managed to learn quite a bit about being in another part of the world for a bit and cultural differences. We also went away appreciating the vast expanse we enjoy here in the USA to stretch our legs and go to the bathroom for free and with soft toilet paper. It also made us appreciate gallons of milk. They buy it in tiny cartons at a time there. The children were intelligent and beautiful and were much like here in the states, rather crazy about whatever pop “icon” happened to be popular that moment without much thought into Spiritual matters. It was at the time very disturbing, but now we are much like that. It is imperative that we teach our children about the Lord and matters important to their Spiritual welfare and salvation through Jesus Christ. It is imperative that we treat this responsibility as if it were the highest calling from God for it is. We are not just here for us and money and material success matter very little in the scope of eternity. God loves humble obedience and faith and He charges us directly with the task of teaching our children about Him and His ways, reading the Bible and talking about it as we come and go and praying with them. It is not the church’s responsibility but it is our own. London reinforced this concept. And kids around the world will continue to feel lonely and melancholy without the teachings Christ gave us which give hope and depth to our existence.