A brown cardboard box filled with crimson carnations sat on a bench at Jupiter Beach this Thursday. It was Valentine’s Day, and large writing on the box proclaimed, “Valentine’s Day S—s.” It said if you are having a bad day, take a flower. This is the second Valentine’s Day in a row that a box of red flowers was set out on that bench. Last year I was somewhat offended by it, thinking that it put a damper on people enjoying the day. But this year, I had a change of heart. It made me sad to read those words. It made me sad to think that someone was in so much pain that he or she chose to do something so thoughtful but then sully it with negativity.

I understand that Valentine’s Day can be a difficult one for many people. The author Beth Moore on a recent Instagram post said, “Not a big fan of Valentine’s Day because I don’t like how it can intensify feelings of rejection.” With that she also posted, “there is faithful love with the Lord, and with Him is redemption in abundance.” (Ps. 130:7) We exist in all types of relationships and relationships can be wonderful, or can come with lies, disappointment, betrayal, anger, rejection and pain. I’m sure you can add a few qualifiers of your own. Valentine’s Day, 1990, was a particularly difficult one for me. Just six months before, my husband, Gerry, and our three children were killed in a car crash. My most important earthly love relationships had ceased to be. There were no red roses or cards made with loving hands from elementary school. Actually, I take that back, I did receive a Valentine from my daughter Dawn’s friend, Sarah. Sarah was nine years old and she wrote this to me that Valentine’s Day. I haven’t forgotten it in thirty years:

Dear Donna, Roses are red, violets are blue. If Dawn were here today, she’d be sending this card to you!   Love, Sarah

As you can imagine I couldn’t stop sobbing over the message of love from Sarah that day. You can also probably imagine where I am going with this. I remember my profound sadness, but not feeling angry or contemptuous about the day. See, all the people that the Lord surrounded me with in my sorrow reminded me that our God is, “a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love Him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations.” (Deut. 7:9 The Message) We in turn “love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 ESV) And, we can only love others if we love ourselves.

So, if every relationship you value isn’t working right now, and you are tempted to write off Valentine’s Day. Remember this, “You are not forgotten and not overlooked; you are seen and loved and listened to [by God.] 1 You love yourself, and most importantly,  “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39 ESV) These are two very good reasons to celebrate love.

Next year I think I will put out a box of red flowers. I will write on it, “If you are having a sad day, remember that God loves you more than anyone in this world can love another. Please take a flower to remind yourself of His great love.”

1quote from Praying Women by Sheila Walsh 2019

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