I know that much of the world doesn’t appreciate Valentine’s Day, they tout it as nothing more than a “Hallmark Holiday,” but I’ve always had faith that a day dedicated to love would never disappoint. And this year, it came through.
You might suppose, as I did, that my Valentine would be my husband of over eleven years – and while I’m certain he thought the same, it simply isn’t so, because the day before Valentine’s Day, I’d already given my heart out on loan to someone else entirely.
Starting out as a solo mission to the Post Office, I was armed with fourteen Valentines to ship and a few errands to run. Making a station for myself to address the envelopes, an older gentleman took up standing next to me to mark his single box. Shuffling around for something to write with, I smiled and showed him where the pen was attached to the desk. He laughed gently and we got to small talking. He shared that he was a metal-worker, we discussed the weather, and after a few more pleasantries, realized the line was moving on. He smiled, his eyes hesitant to end the conversation, thanked me for talking with him, and began to carry himself to the front of the line. In that moment, there was only one thing to do.
“I’m sorry to bother you again,” I said, “but do you have a Valentine this year?” He smiled, questioning, but laughed a bit sadly, responding that he did not. I couldn’t know whether he had always been alone, or whether loneliness was new to him, but it really didn’t matter. “Well, you’ll have to be my Valentine then,” I said, and proceeded to give him the final Valentine card of my stack. I explained who the picture was of, (my son and daughter) and said he now had a bit of love from my family to hang on his refrigerator.
“Thank you,” he said, eyes shining. “I love it.”
Eventually our line moved on, as did the both of us, but before leaving, the man walked back in line to where I stood, and hugged me. “I’ll never forget this,” he said, patting his chest pocket where he stored the picture. “It made my day – thank you.” I told him it was my pleasure, and that was all.
Until it wasn’t. Because two aisles into my trip to Walmart … there he was. “Well hello Valentine,” I said.
“Hello!” he said, smiling broadly. “You must’ve known I was thinking about you and your family! I just looked at my picture again!” he said. We proceeded to run into one another every few aisles and laughed like we had our own private joke each time. On the last aisle, I gave him another hug, and told him I would be praying for him. He reassured me he’d do the same … and we parted as unlikely Valentines.
Some might think me odd – investing all this time and conversation on a stranger … but isn’t that the point? I’m fairly certain, after all, that the greatest commandment we were ever given (John 13:34) was to, “Love one another.” Galatians 5:6 also says that, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” I cannot pretend to know this man’s story, or why we happened to cross paths so many times that day, but I do have faith that it was for a reason. And by giving away my heart for just one hour … it may have given him the hope to carry on through one more Valentine’s Day.
Go love someone … wherever you are,