Valentine’s Day is the day generally thought of for good friends, lovers, married couples and all the stages of relationships in between. The dozen roses that walks through the front office door on Valentine’s Day makes every girl’s heart skip a beat hoping they are from a boyfriend, a husband or maybe a secret admirer.
Then hearts sink and smiles fade as the roses pass desk after office and finally land on the conference table from a grateful client.
Unfulfilled expectations and tears of sadness are often bed fellows because we want those roses, that card or a special dinner for ourselves. I’ve listened to moans of dislike for the day because one does not have a girl/boyfriend or sweetheart as if that is all that love is about.
I was married 29 years ago on Valentine’s Day. Five years later the marriage unfortunately ended. That was the beginning of many tears of grief, sadness and sometimes anger. I had lost something that I so wanted to be successful and endure for years to come with the fruits of four children to complete the union.
It was not to be.
In subsequent years, the tears flowed freely every Valentines’s Day. Every year I sank deeper in depression, sadness, sorrow and despair. I would hide away with my tear-stained cheeks from society, church and whoever else.
Then one year, my Heavenly Father and Comforter of my soul said my grief must be replaced with joy and gratefulness. This does not happen instantly but it was time for the first step. Even though it is easier to remain self-absorb and weep, I decided to give the other side of the coin a shot that year. If it did not work, next year I would continue my downward spiral.
The idea was to turn my gaze outward rather than inward. I decided to make a plan for the day before it arrived so that I would not be defeated before I started. Here was my plan:
- I called my cousin, Paul Moffat, whom I’d not talked to for some time. He was always jovial and uplifting.
- Next I made 3 little corsage arrangements for some of my lady friends and delivered them later that day.
Insignificant you say? Oh no, because those were my first fragile steps forward. My focus all day was to give to others and it turned out to be amazingly different. I ended the day with a peace I had not experienced on previous Valentine days.
I have continued this habit in varying degrees and with a variety of things which always focuses on others. I still grieve from time to time but Valentine’s Day now is about doing for others rather than wallowing in a lost dream.
Yesterday on Valentine’s Day, even 29 years later, I had to rein in my thoughts and my emotions to love and care for others:
- Flowers went to my daughter and son-in-law
- A stuffed turtle with favorite snacks went to my grandson
- Plasma from my blood was given so others can have a better quality of life
- I wished various people a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Every step taken in a forward and upward direction is significant and makes an eternal difference.