Valentine’s, Thirty-five Years Remembered
I remember being in the second grade and awaiting Valentine’s Day to come. It was the first big holiday after the celebrated New Year and everyone started talking about it weeks ahead. Of course, when you are only seven what else is there really to anticipate? Vacations from school, an occasional extra day off, or a holiday that got everyone buzzing and I was caught up in the excitement of this Love day to come. Even as little kids we are taught to share, give and express sentiments of love on this one day of the year, Valentine’s Day.
I hounded mom for weeks to buy me those little cards that I would fill out for each student in my classroom. I had written down all their names during recess, not wanting to leave anyone out. There were thirty of us and that was going to be a task! Mom finally picked up the cards at the grocery store just days before Valentine’s Day. I sat at the kitchen table and worked on each card diligently. I remember mom asking what was taking so long. I looked at her mystified, thinking, ‘Didn’t she know?”, and told her I was writing something to each kid. Something nice about them that I noticed and needed them to know I saw in them. Even then, thirty-five years ago, I was writing, writing about the beautiful characteristics of each person in my class.
Jump ahead to today, thirty-five years later, crow’s feet accentuate my eyes, laugh lines share stories around my smile, heart grown by the years and wisdom filling my sails and yet, the one constant that remains is the love of writing about another person. Seeing, truly seeing, their amazing gifts to this world and when it comes in the package of love and marriage, I am honored to write ‘Their Love Story’.
I, myself, have a wonderful Love Story, filled with almost fourteen years with my husband and the Valentine’s Days that I remember now, all have him in it! A vintage bottle of wine shared on the shores of the Bahia of Conception after a morning of kayaking with dolphins and grey whales, satin red lingerie that I love slipping into, deeply romantic dinner at an elegant restaurant and this year has earned its place at the top of the list.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day on the edge of the Grand Canyon. The sweet gift of this year was not only the experience of this day of Love with my beloved, but also the honor to write a Love Story into a marriage ceremony for a couple. To officiate a wedding on the rim of the Grand Canyon, on the exact day that Arizona turned 100 and snow graced the south rim’s landscape is a memory that I will call upon for decades to come. The mist curled around and parted, revealing the Colorado River below and magic, yes that ancient magic that leaves everyone around a little quiet, looking at each other, even strangers, with that deep knowing that they are sharing this unique day, this amazing moment. Magic danced around this sweet couple so filled with joy, the expansive views before them and a limitless future, all tied up in Love on this special day, Valentine’s Day.
So, on this day after, I am reflecting, as I usually do about the wedding from the day before. I offer prayers to
each couple that I facilitate into marriage and wish for them a glorious journey ahead. I find, on this day, dipping down into my own memory lane, into the start of my writing all those decades before and I am grateful to this day of the year, dedicated to Love. Grateful for my early gifts and desire to write about the spirit and soul of another being, to see that manifested into a ‘Love Story’ at my wedding ceremonies has a magic all its own.
May many memories of Valentine’s Days fill your life with great Love Stories!
~ Blessings of Love ~ Rev. Shanandoah