Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and as a single 25-year-old girl, almost all my sources communicate that I should’ve felt a certain way about it. It should’ve heightened my awareness of my singleness, making me feel lonely. It should’ve made me want to bury my emotions in a more-than-appropriate amount of alcohol. It should've made me feel that for some reason on this day, I hate men and hate this “created-by-hallmark” holiday.
And why? Why should I feel this way?
Because I’m single in this season? Because I didn’t have a date? Because I’m not married? Because I’ve loved before and it didn’t end in happily-ever-after? Because I’ve been hurt and have hurt others?
Those things are true, but I have a different story to tell.
I am single. I’ve been in relationships I wanted to last, and they didn’t. I’ve been hurt, and I know I’ve hurt others. Frequently, the romanticized expectations I had for Valentine's Day weren't met. The dream I dreamt for myself as a little girl hasn’t come to fruition. And you know what? It’s okay.
Valentine’s Day is my favorite. Please don’t be afraid to ask me how it went because I bear the mark of singleness. Valentine’s Day contains all things pink, glittery, heart-shaped, chocolaty and lovey-dovey – just a few of my favorite things. Although, I enjoy them everyday of every year and don't hesitate to buy myself the $5 bundle of flowers every time I go grocery shopping, I whole-heartedly enjoy that everyone else loves those things on this one day of the year. On Valentine's Day, it's as if everyone has decided to jump into my world. And, it’s also a day where everyone is talking about the one word I love the most. Love.
I’m in love with love. Sure, I may have fallen for some of Hollywood and society’s misconstrued and unrealistic portrayals of love. I grew up loving the classic love stories like Beauty and the Beast. I fell in the love with Noah and Allie’s story in The Notebook. The R&B love song station on Pandora is a guilty pleasure. I love hearing about a good engagement story or story of how two people fell in love. The butterfly-feeling, walking-on-sunshine idea of love captivated my heart as a young girl.
I look forward to the day where I discover whatever that chapter will look like in my story. Yet, I know how I live my life in this season is part of the rising action. It’s all a part of the same story. Romantic love, marriage, it’s all something to anticipate, and I do. But my endearment for the word love is so much more than that.
It’s a lifestyle. I don’t have to have a significant other to love love. It's been a lifestyle that is taking me years to live out. Six years ago, as a 19-year-old college student trying to help start a student ministry, work 30+ hours per week, and graduate from college in 3 years, I felt overwhelmed. I felt guilty for the hours I would spend after work in Scooter’s Coffeehouse in Elkhorn, Nebraska, talking with strangers, new acquaintances and old friends. I remember talking to Ronnie Rothe about the tension I felt in my heart trying to invest well in people and keep up with the responsibilities and crazy busyness I was living. I felt guilty for being with people when I had deadlines approaching. It was in Scooters that he looked me in the eyes and said, “Kelsea, time spent with people is never time wasted.”
How does it work that time spent with people is never time wasted? Because it's all about love. Every time spent with someone is an opportunity to know and love them. It’s an opportunity to make eye contact and see the parts of their souls they’re willing to share with you. It’s an opportunity to listen and to hear. And as a believer in my Lord Jesus Christ, it’s an opportunity to love that person like He would. An investment in a human heart is the only thing we can give that will last for eternity.
I'm learning it. I fail every week. I sit at my desk during my plan and have to fight for a healthy perspective when I think I should be grading papers and kids want to talk about the issues of their hearts. How could I be so ignorant to think that papers could be more important than their hearts? I think in retrospect. Thank you Jesus that they want to talk with me! And, yet in the moment, I'm struggling to give those kids that time. I look back at my prayer journals and see that I've prayed for opportunities to talk with them and in the moment, I almost throw away the opportunity. Out of selfishness and mixed up priorities.
But, glory be to God that His grace is bigger than my failures.
I agree with all of you who would say, "Why do we need a specific day to do the things we should be doing every day?" True. Word. Preach. Yet, not everyone is going to do that. So, I'm going to continue on living each day like Valentine's Day - writing in pink pen, telling people I love them, and getting myself those fresh flowers. And, I'm also going to enjoy the one day every year when people want to join in on the lifestyle I'm practicing.