Saturday, February 10, 2007

Love and Chocolate

Love and chocolate—I can’t think of a better reason to declare February 14 as an official winter holiday. For the moment, I’ll skip over divulging details about those whom I’ve loved and my weakness for chocolate to talk about some of the people who came to my mind when I thought of Valentine’s Day.

The valentine that brought me the most smiles was sent by a lady named Maizie to her husband who was a construction worker. I can still remember this gentleman’s face when he came to our home to pick up his mail that day. “Oh, a letter from Maizie!” he exclaimed as a slow grin spread across his weathered face. His tall frame blocked out the light from the winter sunshine as he stood in front of the kitchen window in order to see the words. Much to the amusement of this nine year old, he read his card out loud, “Are you my little pigeon? Are you my little dove? Are you my little sweetheart I’m always thinking of?” His smile grew broader and broader with each line but when he turned the page the smile disappeared. He started to shake and within seconds his smile was replaced by a thunderous belly laugh. “No, you old crow,” he choked out the words as he tried to read what was written on the second page.

The valentine I wish I was able to send would go to my first teacher, Mrs. Richardson. While demonstrating her care and patience for her first graders, she helped every small boy and girl in her class decorate large envelopes in which to put their valentines. When I look back on our classroom celebrations I can’t help but have a strong suspicion she was the person who stuffed our envelopes to overflowing after one youngster boasted, “I’ve got more valentines than you have.” His taunting remarks caused one of the less popular children to cry but the day we opened our envelopes, no one child had more valentines than their classmates.

Of course I’ll give a special valentine to the person who became a lifelong friend after seven of us took a road trip in a Volkswagen in the days before mandatory seatbelts. Three years later this friend became my husband and we’ve celebrated by sharing many valentines ever since.

But besides sending out messages, I’ll spend some time to look at a few I’ve received over the years. One I treasure is a little note written by my great grandmother on the back of a yellowing church envelope. In it she tells us she is leaving her bible as the best heritage she can give and she urges her children and grandchildren to look to it to find guidance for their lives. In following her advice I have found words that express the greatest love of all. Today I join in prayer with St. Paul and use his words to express my wish for each of you on this Valentine’s Day.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18, 19 NLT)

Elaine Ingalls Hogg - author, speaker

1 comment:

Belinda said...

That was absolutely beautiful Elaine. I loved reading your Valentines reflections. I laughed with the guy who got the "old crow" Valentine. It was all very touching and beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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