My friend Beth wrote this beautiful exploration of love and gave me permission to share it with you all. Valentine’s Day is a bittersweet day for her and her family, but getting more sweet than bitter. I was blessed by her heart and hope you will be, too.
Love is on our minds today. For weeks, red wrapped packages of sweet things and cards proclaiming passionate sentiments have filled the stores. Tonight a fine dinner will be held at church, tables set for two. Romantic love is a gift from our Lord and is rightly celebrated. We need only to read Song of Solomon to know that our Lord delights in this aspect of love.
Through the years, Dave and I have celebrated February 14 in two ways: Dave and I declaring our love for each other and our family declaring our love for one another.
One year when our children were small we surprised them. We told them special guests were coming for Valentines. We cleaned the house; my mom sent us a beautiful flower arrangement that adorned our table set with our finest china. We prepared delicious food. I instructed the kids to get dressed up, and they festooned the evening with their finery. We sat down to dinner and the kids began to ask, “who is coming?” Dave then told them they were the guests of honor. We clinked our crystal glasses in a sparkling cider toast—to our family. They were very surprised and probably a tiny bit disappointed because they thought they would be serving someone. However, the excitement of everything beautiful and treats gaily wrapped made them soon forget.
Our kiddos are a formulation of Dave and my love. The expressions of eros created little ones on whom we set another sort of love. Only Dave and I will ever be the parents of Sarah and Jason. As a first time mom, I was surprised at the depth and immediacy of my love for our new baby girl. She grabbed my heart; she is a wonderful blessing from our Lord. Two and half years later the Lord again blessed us with a precious baby boy. Our love begat further love. Our celebrations through the years though taking various forms were always a time to celebrate love in its various nuances. Valentines day however, has taken a different turn for my husband and me. We think on yet another shade of love.
Nine years ago our today our son finished life on earth. While it is a day we grieve, it is a day that we are reminded that our love for him has not stopped. Grief is that expression of love that God wrought in hearts for him still beating within us. Dave and I remember and speak of it to each other. We look for our Lord’s good in our remembrances of love. This day reminds us now that we do not have to be tangibly in the presence of someone to love them. This is a comfort in many ways. It means we do love our son though he is not here anymore. It means love can exist when we live on two sides of a country and not be diminished. It is a reminder of our Savior’s love for us and our love in response.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him” Peter wrote to the church. Peter knew the love of Christ and had experienced said love as he walked with Jesus over three years. Peter had the opportunity to declare his love to Jesus. In the scope of history however, very few had the privilege to experience Christ’s love in His corporal presence or to speak their love to Him. Peter’s line was written to the church as an encouragement that the love we have for Him is real. There is love to be known, experienced, and proclaimed that does not require bodily presence. I know it to be true. Christ’s love has pierced my heart and I am deeply moved to love Him back but as John Piper has written this love is, “not based on a physical seeing of Christ. But it is based on believing Christ.” Today is my day and your day to courageously choose to love Him more though we have not seen Him.