Not a happy Valentine’s Day?

Facebook is filled with snapshots of happy Valentine’s breakfasts, dozens of roses, sweet cards and smiling faces. And everywhere, hearts. What if your valentine has passed away, leaving a huge heart-shaped hole in your chest? Or have you recently discovered your significant other has been cheating on you? Or the one who should be kind and caring wounds you with looks or words, or worse? Or your physical condition, or of one you love, through disease, injury or pain, prohibits fully entering into any celebration? Or are you are simply alone?duct tape rose
What if you feel you have more in common with the original Valentine, whose ending was pretty gruesome, than the pink-red-chocolate day so celebrated now?

A pity party seems more in order than a Valentine’s Party.

The truth is, even people who are doing their best cannot love us enough to live out the language of all those cards

Can’t fill the love-need we all experience, and on holidays like these, in greater intensity.

hearts and love drawing

At a low point during my college years I discovered T.S. Elliot, and sobbed over these lines at the beginning of his poem “Ash Wednesday”

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

In junior high I wrote a poem full of young angst, concluding with:
“Teach me how to love, and yet not care.
Teach me how to love, and yet beware.”

When I reached the final page of “Ash Wednesday,” I came unglued (causing quite a disturbance in the library).

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks.

(Emphasis mine)

T.S. Eliot’s poetry began my journey to peace. It started with learning contentment among the rocks.

That’s pretty bleak, I’ll admit, but that is where I was.

Maui rocks

It took many years of whisperings of Love for the Spirit to heal me to the point where I dared leave the rocks. Launch into the water. Swim with gusto.

Jane body surfing in Bahamas, JHT
Jane body surfing in Bahamas

There are still days when my desires don’t sync with my life, and I ask for peace to sit among the rocks.

I have it on good word that request is not useless.

I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Isaiah 41:9-10 MSG

The good news about our circumstances causing pain is we find out what our hearts are trusting.

When we are left chasing the wind, empty-handed, we’ve found an idol we are best rid of. Not necessarily rid of that person, but we recognize we have made an idol, one we’d hoped to be the source of our heart needs.

There really is no greater blessing than knowing the only true Source of deep, complete love.

after glow

I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!

Jeremiah 31:3 MSG

And that love never fails.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.

How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.

It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.

(Emphasis mine)

Lamentations 3:20-32 MSG

Maui waves, JHT
Maui waves

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

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