By Mike Day
Valentine’s Day is drawing near. Do you remember giving Valentine cards in elementary school? Rather than giving one card to your chosen valentine, you were tasked with giving a Valentine card to every person in your class. And to hold all those cards, we were all assigned to make a Valentine box. With an old shoe box provided by mom or dad, we taped the lid on, and then covered it with red or pink construction paper and heart shaped paper doilies. The more artistic classmates showed off their creativity by adding colorful paper flowers and bow-tied ribbons. For me, most of my “creative time” was spent wiping the Elmer’s glue off the table and attempting to peel it from my fingers. The most important feature of the box, however, was the cut slit in the center of the box providing an opening to receive all the cards.
At home, we wrote the classmate’s name on the small white envelope and stuffed it with a few heart shaped conversation candies along with the card. The candies were imprinted with an innocent saying such as “Be Mine,” “Kiss Me,” or “I Love You.” The three to four inch colorful cards had artistic images with silly sayings to match the image. Do you remember any of these cards?
Yogi the bear enjoying a jar of honey with the saying, “You’re my honey, Valentine.”
A young cowboy shooting his guns saying, “You’re a Rootin' Tootin’ Valentine!”
A little boy playing his drums with the line, “My heart beats for you, Valentine.”
At 7 or 8, we didn’t know much about love, but neither did we know anything about hate. There are days I wish we could go back to such naïve times when everyone in your class was considered a friend and we all exchanged Valentine cards. As we grow older, we tend to narrow our list of valentine recipients and also limit the love we show to others. Because of past hurt, we tend to be more guarded with our feelings and with whom we let in our circle of friends.
For the Christian, the Apostle Paul challenges us to practice a love that risks hurt because he knows that only when we love as Christ loved do we open ourselves up to true life.
Paul defines love with these words,
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (I Corinthians 13:4-7).
This Valentine’s Day I will definitely give my wife a card expressing my special love for her as my one and only. In addition, I will share some words of appreciation for those who have loved me through some tough times. I even plan to make a few valentine connections with those individuals where the relationship is broken, and the past hurt still stings. Rather than peeling the glue from my fingers as I did in elementary school, this year I’ll allow God to remove the hardened shell around my heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day!