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Valentine’s Day With A Twist


Valentine’s Day With A Twist

The world sets our expectations that Valentine’s Day should be flowers, candy or a candlelit dinner for two with that special someone. For those who are alone, this yearly reminder of what you do not have—or what you have lost may leave one sad. Southwood’s twenty-somethings singles group teamed up with Jen and Tim Kauffman to host the annual Anna Ministry Valentine’s Dinner. The days and nights spent preparing for this day in which I would participate in “serving” were more fulfilling and more fun than preparation for a long vacation or any other event we might look forward to.  We band together, the younger serving the older with our energy and time, while the older served us with their encouragement and wisdom. Everyone had dressed their best and everyone was smiling.

As our thirteen princesses entered our home-made palace, I thought of royalty. God gave these dear widows a special place in His domain and commanded us in His word to give them specific honor. I tried to think of questions to ask them that would give me a glimpse into the hearts that had been alive three and four times longer than mine. I knew we had little time and I wanted the questions to mean something.

I experienced another emotion as my brothers and sisters crowded around the guests of honor, attempting to make them feel as if, that night, they were the most important people in the world. A healthy pride filled me. I beamed happily every time I had a chance to tell someone what I was doing for Valentine’s Day. In an email to a friend I said, “I love to see my fellow singles taking advantage of their singleness and doing something with it.” That something was taking a situation that many of us would gladly lay aside and making the best of it, in every sense of the word.

My expectation of gleaning wisdom from my elders was met in a different way when rather than me hearing about her life, she asked me to tell her about my life. I realize now that the greatest wisdom she could have imparted was given in a single sentence by a single question. When she had a chance to share all the things God had taught her, she didn’t. Instead she set an example for me by taking an interest in me and showing me in a few tiny seconds that she considered me more important than herself. My attempts to serve and make her feel important became less glorified in my eyes, and I went back to work with a treasure to ponder.

The enchanted evening was evident in tables strewn with flowers and place settings of glimmering with crystal, silver and fine china. Games and songs completed the evening. At the conclusion, the grand duchesses departed on the arms of the young armored knights—dressed in coats and ties—who had chauffeured them to the party. I was sad to see them go. It was over so fast. But Cinderellas in their sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties can’t stay out till midnight. As we said goodbye, we spoke of gathering again.

With all my hopes for what the evening would be like, I think it turned out better. I’d always loved Valentine’s Day, but I love it even more now. A holiday that might bring dread to the single woman or single man had become a day filled with excitement and joy. It was a holiday of love, but maybe not the love we fantasize about. It was an evening where we received more than we gave, though we didn’t know it and maybe didn’t even expect it.

It is a day that I’ll remember with fondness and even now the thought of it brings tears to my eyes and encourages me to delight in God for His goodness and the good gift He delights in giving his children. Sweet overlooked widows and misfit singles were able to love on each other. It’s because He delights to give good gifts to His children that an uncertain season of life received a shining touch to make it bearable, even lovable. And I’m just a little awed that I got to be a part of it.