“I Love You” Hearts

One February early in our marriage, little valentine’s began showing up in the most random places.  One in the barn in the feed sack saying, “I fed the calves so you don’t have to. I love you.” Another in the cupboard on top of the stacked plates saying “Thanks for dinner.  I love you.”  Some would have a simple poem – some serious, some humorous, but all expressions of love. For two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day my husband showered me with random acts of kindness and notes of love.

The following year, I joined in the fun.  Armed with my own valentines, I began looking for little special ways to express my love to my husband. Year after year, this has been our Valentine tradition.

I don’t remember for sure how old the children were when they were included, maybe 4 or 5.  By this time, we were just passing construction paper hearts with “I Love You” written on them, and we established a few simple rules:

  1. Whoever found a heart had 24 hours to pass it on
  2. One could not pass back to the same person before passing the heart to all other family members

Though we encouraged showing love to one another throughout the year, spending two weeks intentionally and secretively was not only fun, but also rewarding both for the receiver and the giver. What fun to see the children sneaking around, into another’s room to make a bed, eager to set the table when it wasn’t their turn, making a cup of tea or hot chocolate for someone without being asked. Of course,  an “I Love You” heart was always left.  As the kids got older they would sometimes buy a favorite candy or gum and leave it in a backpack or on a dresser with the heart.  A note of love and appreciation found under a pillow was an extra special treat. These were treasures that were held on to long after Valentine’s Day.

Leaving home for college, one by one the children “graduated” from our family tradition. I would usually take or send something to the 1st year college student and always include an “I Love You” heart. I thought it was a good reminder to them of our family tradition and that I loved  them.

In the rat race of life, too often we neglect showing love to those we love the most.  We let our guard down and treat family in ways we’d never treat our friends or acquaintances.  Shame on us!! In John 15:12 and John 15:17 we are COMMANDED to love one another. Love is more than saying “I love you” or buying diamonds, roses, chocolate or the most popular toy.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does NOT envy.

It does NOT boast.

It is NOT proud.

It is NOT rude.

It is NOT self-seeking.

It is NOT easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does Not delight in evil

but rejoices with the truth.

It ALWAYS protects,

ALWAYS trusts,

ALWAYS hopes,

Always perseveres.

Love NEVER fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

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