Flowers and Valentines Day

10, 11, 12, 13…

So what comes after 13? Well any kindergartner would tell you “14, stupid!” And so it is…
February 14th. Monday. First day of the week. First day of my week long break. I woke up, and other than the fact that I slept in a little, it seemed pretty ordinary. Nothing special, right?
Wrong.
I just needed to pick up some protein bars. That was it. But walking into Whole Foods I unknowingly entered an abyss of pink and red. Buckets and buckets of roses surrounded me. Boxes of chocolates, candies, plushy, heart-shaped everything abounded. Fortunately enough my gag-reflex was suppressed by, of all things, laughter. And why you ask? Because alongside this sea of roses was a sea of men
I’d recalled what Michael, my favorite Metropolitan Market barista, had said the day before regarding this day of days: 
“It makes women crazy, and the poor guys come in bewildered and just plop down their cash.” 
And that’s what I saw… men lined up to have their roses arranged, wearing an expression of part daze, part duty, and part delight. 
If you can’t tell I’m really not a fan of Valentine’s Day. 
I hate pink, I don’t like hearts and if I’m going to be brutally honest P.D.A. makes me a little uncomfortable. It’s really quite odd though because I’m pretty sure there’s a hopeless romantic in there somewhere. If you could only see my DVD collection… But there’ve been times when I’ve seriously wondered if my heart were made of warm flesh or icy stone. And yet I know it must be, it is the former.
See my story is much like my little friend Much-Afraid, from Hinds Feet on High Places. Remember her? It’s been a while… We’re on this journey to the High Places – the Kingdom of Love where the Great Shepherd and his Father reign. However, in order to become a citizen of the Kingdom of Love the flower of Love must have blossomed in our heart. And it has to be the real deal! No carnation, no rose… but true Love. And yet imposter’s abound. 

“I think what is growing there is a great longing to experience the joy of natural, human love and to learn to love supremely one person who will love me in return. But perhaps that desire, as natural as it seems, is not the Love of which you are speaking?” She paused and then added honestly and tremblingly, “I see the longing to be loved and admired growing in my heart, Shepherd, but I don’t think I see the Love you are talking about, at least, nothing like the love which I see in you.”

 True Love is not the kind you see in chick flicks, fairy tales or even (dare I say it) Valentines Day greeting cards. It requires risk – real risk where you’re very vulnerable- vulnerable to hurt, heartache and pain. And pain is not so pleasant.

“But it is so happy to love,” said the Shepherd quietly. “It is happy to love even if you are not loved in return. There is pain too, certainly, but Love does not think that very significant.”

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay his life down for his friends.” We have a Good Shepherd, and He has laid His life down for the sheep. His was the ultimate pain.
So did Much-Afraid and I risk the pain and heartache to have the seed of Love planted so the flower might blossom in our hearts? Well I’ll share with you a little secret: He’s promised to love me in return, with an everlasting love. And you know, “he who promised is faithful…”
So risk it we did! He has planted the seed of Love, true Love for Him, in my heart and it’s scary and sometimes it hurts, but really “it is so happy to love.”
And like the buckets of flowers that the sea of men were buying at Whole Foods today, the flower of Love is blossoming and blooming in my heart – even on Valentines Day.

But one question (of more importance than all else written above) remains: Is true Love planted in your heart? Are you blooming? Just ask the Good Shepherd. He’ll plant it there.

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