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What to Say about Your Valentine

When I was in grade school, I always hoped a certain blonde haired girl would drop a Valentine in my box. Each year from first through fourth grade I held my breath.

I never got the Valentine.

I used to think it scarred me for life, that Valentine’s Day would always be a day of dread and regret.

Then, one Sunday, I had lunch at someone’s house and I knew the rest of my life would be different.

I had found my Valentine, even if she didn’t know it.

I was a young associate pastor serving a medium sized congregation and I kept getting invited to Sunday lunch.

I was a little clueless, but by the third lunch I figured out that I was always being seated next to the daughter nearest my age. Time and time again it was a long and awkward lunch.

There was one invitation I longed for but I never received it. Weeks and many more awkward lunches came and went.

Finally, one Sunday after church, a woman invited me to lunch. I practically jumped up and down for joy because this was the invitation I had been waiting to receive.

I looked over her shoulder and saw her daughter waving her arms in front of her face and mouthing “No! No! No!”

I was crushed, but determined, and I decided to seize my opportunity. I said, “Yes!”

That was 33 Valentine’s Days ago.

When I first started writing here I wrote about how the love of my life is no longer a “spring chicken” and that she has now become an “autumn chicken.” We are growing old together.

I wanted to write about her today and I thought about giving six reasons she is the Valentine of my life, but she doesn’t like when I write articles here with six of this or four of that.

I wanted to put in writing here, tossed out into the vast expanse of the universe, a kind of declaration of love for the woman with whom I have spent most of my life. Then I thought I might fill up Google’s servers because I would have so much to say.

I wanted to share with you how I delight in my nurtured, enriched, carefully cultivated relationship with my Valentine. Then I thought it might appear self-indulgent or gratuitous.

I wanted to find a way to encourage you to express your love to your Valentine, by writing about how my life would be incomplete without mine. Then I thought you probably already know that about your Valentine, too.

I wanted to hold out for you the memory or the moment when you first felt love and remembered that you would never, ever, ever be the same again. Then I realized there are no words for that moment.

Let me, instead, tell you a little story.

Sometimes, on our way to work together, we will stop by Starbucks and my wife will go inside to get the coffees. I’ll wait in the parking lot and drive up to the door when she comes out.

Today, since it was Valentine’s Day, I parked and had her stay in the warm car, while I went into Starbucks. It was a kind of gift to her.

Lots of people were in line, so I finally ordered my coffee and had some time to wait.

Seated at one of the tables while he waited for his mom to get her coffee was a little first grade boy. Quietly and patiently, he was putting candies and Valentines together. He had an old decorated shoebox, covered in construction paper, with a hole cut in the top to receive his Valentines. Just like I used to make when I was his age.

I wondered if there was a little blond haired girl on his mind.

I wanted to tell him one day his Valentine would come into his life and fill his heart with love.

I wanted to tell him one day his Valentine would make him whole.

I wanted to tell him one day his Valentine would give him joy beyond words.

I wanted to tell him of a life time of love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Donna!

  • “I looked over her shoulder and saw her daughter waving her arms in front of her face and mouthing “No! No! No!” ” That’s precious. My dad used to tell about mom not taking his calls when he first attempted to court her. Persistence pays off.

    • DarrellGwaltney

      Thanks, Pam. Yes, persistence was part of the equation early on . . . I’d leave flowers with her mom during the day to give to her when she got home from work . . . to make allies!

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