“You know there’s nothing great about Valentine’s Day,” mumbled my then 17 year-old daughter. She was a senior in high school, had a lot of friends, but no special guy for this special day. She was quite over the drama of this holiday. The balloons and flowers that were given with great fanfare at school. The public displays of affection that she encountered outside every classroom. “I can’t stand this holiday,” she harrumphed as she left the room.
I chuckled as she left. A sentiment that lasted only as long as my ability to remember my own teen-age Valentine experiences. Rather sobering. But hindsight does lend clarity to our circumstances.
When I was in high school, students could buy carnations and have them delivered to particular people throughout the school during Valentine’s Day. Special messages always accompanied the flowers, and many classes were held hostage by girls reading their messages out loud. Those who had the steady boyfriends always got gargantuan bouquets–or so it seemed. And there were even some who received flowers from those shy guys who used this time to express the “I’m in like with you” feelings they couldn’t say face to face.
I never got flowers from anyone back then. I didn’t date much in high school–Dad kept telling me I was a late bloomer. But that didn’t minimize the feelings of rejection and worthlessness every February 14 as I moved from class to class with no flowers. With no one to think I was special. Feeling like I didn’t belong to anyone.
Valentine’s Day can conjure up those feelings of aloneness and loneliness. Holidays often accentuate the state of our personal relationships–with whom do we celebrate those special days? It’s being back in middle school and not having anyone to eat lunch with. It’s not being part of any group on the playground. It’s not having a special friend who seeks you out at odd moments of the day.
Our lives are often lived as if every day were Valentine’s Day. Does anyone really love me for who I am? Is there someone who really knows me and still accepts me in all my messiness? Am I special enough to anyone?
I struggled with those questions for years, but I was introduced to Someone many years ago who promised to love me. Just as I am. I didn’t have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I didn’t have to fit a mold. I was offered a gift of love–a love so great that it caused Him to take my punishment, to die in my place.
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’” Jeremiah 31:3
In the midst of the uncertainty of life and of people, I am fully loved by the One who made me, who redeemed me. Fully known and fully loved.
It’s amazing to know I’m that special to Someone.