No Filter Friday {Meteors, Valentine’s Day, and Hope for Troubled Hearts}

It seems only appropriate that the day after Valentine’s Day a meteor would crash through our atmosphere. That holiday has a such a darn way of ending badly for so many. It is the one day humanity collectively decries its deep need to be loved and cherished and celebrated. Today is not the only morning-after that thousands have felt like a meteor ripped through their life. For all our metaphorical fortresses, we people are a fragile group.

Let not your hearts be troubled…

Heres the deal. I had a troubling week from start to finish. Last Sunday the hubs and I attended a Jain memorial service for a fallen colleague of his. It was dark in every way you might imagine. I had never been in a Jain temple before. Hope’s vacancy was a thicker presence than I had imagined. At one point, I wanted to stand on my chair and preach the gospel. But I could tell my slip had scrunched up too high. Yes, that was my excuse–lame and shallow–for sitting there, keeping hope to myself. Well, that and the fact that my husband had begged me to keep the theatrics to a minimum.

I understand his request. We were there to honor someone else; to let this man’s last memory be reflective of his life…not ours. Yet I couldn’t get away from the incredible sadness that like my slip had scrunched up around my heart.

Let not your hearts be troubled…

Did I mention that this service came on the heals of our stopping to eat lunch and only after ordering and taking our first bite did we realize neither of us brought our wallets. Yep, we were those people. Fortunately, hubs is an all-star negotiator and I’m not afraid to pray for just about anything, so we made a pretty good pair of groveling beggars.

Let not your hearts be troubled…

So back to Valentine’s Day. I have come to hate this holiday. Not because it goes poorly for me. Except for the one year that I got two carnations {and I HATE carnations}, Valentine’s Day has always been an okay day for me. I say only ‘okay’ because as child (through my teen/college years), I wanted to wave the holiday away. Inevitably, someone would profess their undying love for me and that just always made me feel so bad to not be able to return some word of comfort or affection because of course that ‘someone’ was never the person I wanted it to be. Such awkwardness. Do you keep the chocolate that came with the confession? It seems strangely familiar to eating food a restaurant for which you have no means to pay.

As an adult, particularly a married adult, Valentine’s Day is just another opportunity for me to be reminded that I married well. My husband does a very good job of making feel loved and cherished and celebrated.

But it’s not all about us. As one friend told me yesterday, “If I see one more person parading a giant bear around I am going to swerve off the road to run that bear over.” She was *kidding* of course. And yet not so much. Valentine’s Day is as much painful as it is poignant. Hearts are all stirred and agitated, worried about worth and belonging. Hearts are fragile. They were created for love and some seasons of life make that more of a burden than a blessing. Darn you, Hallmark! Look how you expose our fears and loneliness.

So with my slip scrunched around my bulging pear section, I stand and declare, “We are more than the Valentine’s Day bears, chocolates and flowers we did not receive. Let not your heart be troubled…You have a Lover of your soul who gives gifts beyond compare. He loves you, treasures you, cherishes you, and you don’t need some cheesy card to prove it. He completes you.” Now go celebrate your beautifulness. Plus, Girl Scout cookies arrive this week. Valentine’s Day has got nothing on the Thin Mints.

{Single people, plug your ears. Ah happily married/coupled friends, we need to make a note of this for next year. Since we get to be happily married/together the other 364 days of the year, on the one day that the world decides to raise the bar on the superficiality of love maybe we could sacrifice a little to include those who are feeling alone and betrayed by all the corny messages found on candy hearts. Or at the least we could tone down the Facebook celebration dances. Even the NFL frowns upon unsportsmanlike celebrations that rub it in the face of the other team. This ain’t Junior High anymore, so I think we can stop pretending that we don’t see the people standing on the edges of the rink because nobody asked them to skate. Just a thought.}

Let not your hearts be troubled…

I have heard these words echoing in my heart all week. For myself. For my friends. Even for those who I only know through friends of a friend and news stories. Loneliness, sickness, broken relationships, super naughty children, death, retiring popes, meteors, and the like can burn through hope quickly, leaving our hearts empty and rattling around with frantic “what ifs” and “oh no’s.” We–the Jesus people–are called to be people of hope…no matter how high our slip is riding.

Who do you know who needs encouragement? Who needs a word of hope? It’s Friday already.  Get on with it…go spread hope to troubled hearts.

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