When I was a little girl, I woke on Valentine’s Day mornings to a paper and doily heart by my bed with “Follow Me” printed on the back. I climbed out of bed to a room criss-crossed and webbed with string—one end of which was attached to the heart—and delightedly follow it around the house, peeking into cupboards and closets and under sofa cushions. Sometimes the spot where the string crept was empty—but somewhere, I would find a surprise or two. Not anything big, but maybe a cute pair of socks or a new book—little reminders that I was loved. And at the end, a big, beautiful, handmade valentine from Mommy and Daddy.
When my little sister came along, the tradition continued. We still keep it to some extent today. I don’t know exactly how “the string game” came to be—we think my grandmother invented it when my mom and her brother were little. But I can’t remember a Valentine’s Day without that beguiling web of string, and the handmade cards and love that go along with it.
Perhaps because of that, I was a bit taken aback when I discovered the cynicism some friends my age now hold toward this holiday. But when I think about what lies behind it, I understand a little better. No doubt due to my childhood memories, I have sometimes nearly forgotten the romantic heart (no pun intended!) of this day, though in recent years my sister and I have tried to focus more on providing something special for our parents, giving them a gift for a getaway or turning our living room into a candlelit suite.
But for those who, like me, lack a “Valentine” of their own, the romance and hearts and happy facebook posts from wedded or “relationshiped” friends can be a painful reminder of one’s single state. And I don’t have to pretend to understand how hard this can be; I know.
YLCF, a place that has lifted my heart so many times when struggling with continued singleness, has a wonderful article up right now. If you’re feeling lonely, read it; I think you’ll be blessed and comforted.
And Valentine’s Day is still a lovely reminder to love—whether being patient with my grandma while I give her a bath, or fixing dinner for my family, or exchanging those carefully cut and pasted paper hearts—and also that we are loved. Jesus, who loves us, His bride, with an everlasting love, will never leave us or forsake us. And He is the only One who can truly satisfy our deepest heart’s desires anyway.
May you be wrapped in His loving arms today. Happy St. Valentine’s!