To my friends who are experiencing this day as “Singleness Awareness Day,” feeling SAD, know that this pastor loves you, and that your choosing to be a friend is a powerful love all its own. And if “Singleness Awareness Day” comes too close, closes in, pulls you down—you know the drill—-reach out.
The coolest thing about having our sons’ birthdays fall in the weeks ahead of St. Valentine’s Day is that it pre-conditions us to be extra mushy when St. Valentine’s Day appears.
Here’s a top ten list of truths from the 23 year marriage of the Bryants, who’ve celebrated 25 Valentine’s Days together:
10) You will see the complete worst in your beloved; bounced checks, burnt food, bad breath, unpaid bills, and you’ll also see the complete best in your beloved; when they do without so others have, when they forgive the rudest thing that has ever (EVER) flown out of your mouth, when they find you sexy with a size 40 waistline, just as they did when that waistline was 32.
9) You’ll find in your beloved a safe harbor like no other, especially on those days when the world comes way too close, particularly on those days when inadequacy or the realization that we are truly finite seizes us and settles deeply into our souls; on such days are flowing tears, kind words offered, Girl Scout cookies eaten in bed, and a decent bottle of wine shared, maybe even two.
8) Your beloved can irritate the living hell out of you, and still make you feel degrees of love like no other; with their strangeness, their unique ways of folding towels, their quirkiness about hygiene, their late night book reading with a strap-on headlamp, even their ugly-tail leggings that they dearly love, which offer only a fraction of the offense of your own Grateful Dead T-shirts.
7) And when your beloved’s heart breaks, it’s so much more than something you watch from the outside. It is something you feel together on the inside. The pain is real to both and the healing often comes to and through both.
6) Your beloved sees all sides of you, some sides that you may not even see yourself. They find the blindspots that you cannot see, those places that are too close to the tender thing you most ardently clutch, that easily bruised and broken ego. They see that ego, all its sides, love you warts and all, and they ever so gently nudge you to grow.
5) There are days when your beloved calls you out for being a total ass, for using that tender ego to not-so-tenderly assert selfish agendas, to grasp for power over others, to chose to play the victim when the day to man-up or woman-up has already passed, when the day for wallowing in self-pity is far behind. These are not the gently-nudge-to-grow-days, rather these are the grow-up-and-get-going -days. Only one who loves deeply and completely would call the nameless questions on us, would risk whatever may befall to gain a more authentic relationship by dealing with a more authentic us.
4) This is the one who knows your feelings and thoughts by the way you purse your lips, raise an eyebrow, shift your stance; the one who sees how the day has gone by the way you walk through the door, knows whether to bound up boldly in celebration or to move softly forward to embrace in solidarity. No words are required.
3) This is the one who knows where to hit every tender spot in your being, maybe has done so in wrath or rage, or out of hurt or panic, but who makes every effort to never hit those pain points, and should they be violated makes the most vulnerable ministrations for healing, and those ministrations come as quickly and intentionally as possible.
2) This is the person who knows you prefer the colors: yellow, green, and blue–in that order; that you will lie to another rather than tell a truth that hurts another’s feelings, that you would rather drink Coke than Pepsi, will eat tomato sauces but despise odious tomatoes, enjoy Indian cuisine over American Continental fare, would much rather listen to heavy metal than country music, and can be easily invited to forsake a great football game to snuggle and watch Casablanca.
1) This is the person who could rock the single life without you but who chose you–CHOSE YOU! And there is nothing in my world more holy and amazing than the sense of being chosen by Harriet!!!!