A simple metal colander, its drainage holes forming stars around its sides and bottom, is a source of embarrassment and shame for me. It was a Valentine - an ill-conceived one at that. For in an early year of our marriage, with the romanticism of youth and the one-upmanship chatter of co-workers echoing in my head, I shamed my husband into getting me something on that day. And so he (in desperation, I’m sure) searched the small general store in our rural community for a gift and returned home with that. It was not a big hit.
Now stores fill their shelves with marvelous have-to-haves. Red and white and hearts abound - everything from boxer shorts and fancy lingerie to stuffed monkeys and marshmallow candies are covered with them. While working in a local floral shop a few years back, I decided it had all gone way too far. On Valentine’s Day, men lined up four deep to buy the highly-coveted dozen roses. The closer we came to closing, the shorter tempers became, especially if, heaven forbid, we ran out of roses. Some did plan ahead, ordering far in advance, writing thoughtful cards, and requesting early delivery. But for many, it seemed a real chore - one more thing they were expected to do to prove their love for the ladies in their lives. Even that did not always work. I remember one irate recipient who, when we couldn’t deliver to her work before she left for the day, refused the flowers completely. We offered to deliver to her home, but that wouldn’t do. She needed them at her office or not at all. And all in the name of love - poor guy.
Just how does one show their love for another? I value kindness and respect, especially when there are obvious differences of opinion. The surprise of a long overdue home repair or a new creation in wood is deeply appreciated, as is a wake-up cup of coffee served in bed. Romanticism definitely has its place and dinner out is nice, but often just sharing the load is a true treasure - like cleaning up after a meal - and, yes, that does include the old colander with stars on the side.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
In this way, love is made complete among us...
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:16 and 19