A Singularly Joyful Valentine’s Day
by Catherine Finger
“Joy in Me. Joy is the God-given cement that secures the harmony and beauty of My mosaic.” —A.J. Russell
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. When I was a little girl, I’d spend weeks planning the décor for my elementary school’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Box contest. Shoe boxes worked best—but I experimented with milk jugs, coffee cans, and once a ceramic piggy bank-turned card box that never really functioned properly for either. Add to that long hours spent creating the perfect Valentine’s Day card for my girlfriends (glitter was integral) and a small slew of friends of the opposite sex.
In those days, my girlfriends and I were sensible about the matter of romance. We’d meet on the playground every Monday morning and allocate Boyfriends of the Week for every girl in our class. Then we’d go track down our lucky beaus. This saved time, face, and friendships. Come Valentine’s Day, we all had that special someone to either make or select a card for. Our habit was to give a card to every single classmate—so no one went home empty handed or feeling unloved. Sugar cookies and cards did that for us back then.
Flash forward about a hundred years and here I am, single again, back to thinking about how I’d like to spend Valentine’s Day this year. While I’m not planning on making a card box, I guarantee you I will be crafting a handmade Valentine’s Day gift or two. Glitter will be involved. Edible or otherwise.
One of my favorite things—assuming I’m in my right mind and emotional state—is finding ways to make other people happy. As a single woman living in these fast-paced days of social media and presidential impeachments, how can I extend this sense of joy to others? Valentine’s Day offers a great excuse to focus time and attention on someone other than myself.
Before I can embrace this state of giving and creating joyful experiences for others, I need to rebalance myself in my singleness. It’s easy for me to fall into what I refer to as being Man Sad—dwelling on my marital status rather than dwelling on the fullness of God. The only way I know how to shake free from this dark grip is to ask myself a simple question: what if I knew, for a fact, that I was in the center of God’s will for my life?
What if I looked at my being single as God’s highest will for my life, right this minute—right here, right now? What if I was able to rest easy, knowing that I am pleasing Him in my single life by my simple obedience, and then commit to Him my energy and emotion? Praise expressed to Him transforms the angst of feeling less than or left out into a high voltage combination of gratitude and hopeful expectation.
I want to live joyously, gratefully, and well each day—regardless of my marital status. Taking my focus off what is missing in my life—a husband, children, grandbabies—and actively choosing to love others in ways personally meaningful to them opens me to greater connection and intimacy. We were created to connect with others—we were made for intimacy. What does that mean for those of us living alone without spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings nearby or living parents? For me it means creating community and family. My church community matters—but so do my friendships.
Engaging in acts of kindness and generosity is a great way to encourage an attitude of gratitude for yourself and to express love to others. As we approach another Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to think of something that would give you great joy, make you feel loved—and commit to creating that experience for someone else. The act of preparation—whether it is a meal, a card, a phone call—can bring you joy in the journey.
Set your mind to pray simple prayers of gratitude throughout the day. Set your phone alarm to ring every three hours. Thank Him, praise Him and ask Him to bring someone in need of a loving touch to mind. Call or text them with a cute little Valentine’s Day message. Throw a smoochy heart in there. Hearts—like smiles—can be heard over quite a distance.
I give you permission to get yourself something sweet—now double down on that sweet little something! Make someone’s day with an unexpected gift on their porch with a little note form you. Glitter preferred.
By being a loving friend, daughter, sister, aunt, mother—and expressing our love through generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness—we extend love to those around us and give God room to express His love to us.
Now that’s something to celebrate!
Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends. Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, will be released by Elk Lake Publishing in December 2019. Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com Follow her on Facebook at Catherine Finger, Author, and on Twitter at CatherineFinger@BeJoOliver.
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