I received the invitation in the mail shortly after New Years. It was in an elegant black satin envelope with a black velvet ribbon. There was no return address, just the name of one of my friends in a fancy Edwardian script. As I eagerly opened the envelop a return card slipped out and I read the following “You are cordially Invited to attend our 1st Annual Un-Valentine Party”.
Inside was a short letter explaining all of us single girls needed to ban together against this commercialized holiday, wear black in solidarity, and enjoy our singlehood with cocktails and embrace the freedom of not being shackled by love. Love was an illusion which didn’t exist except in movies and rather than spend the night home alone, join us to celebrate not being in love. This was an invitation to change my view on love.
My excitement opening the envelope was replaced with a cold feeling of sadness and a hint of angry. How could I ever possibly believe love was an illusion? Why would I ever celebrate not being in love? Was this really how my friend felt or was this party a desperate attempt to mask a very deep rooted pain brewing in the absence of hope.
I tossed the invitation in the garbage and immediately resolved not to stay home but to celebrate Valentine’s Day that year my way. I ordered flowers and candy and made a reservation at one of the most elegant restaurants in town. I even bought a new bright red dress.
On Valentine’s morning I made the long four-hour car ride across the state to my parent’s home and showed up as a complete surprise. My mom’s face clearly showed how delighted she was to see me and my dad gave me one of his famous bear hugs. Mom received the bouquet of roses and Dad indulged in the chocolates. My parents hadn’t formally celebrated the holiday in years but that night the three of us went out to dinner and enjoyed Valentine’s Day together. We enjoyed the gift of family love.
That night was a treasured memory in my heart. As much as my parents enjoyed the surprise, it was I who got a Valentine’s miracle that year. Later on that fall, I was blessed to meet my future husband and we were engaged shortly thereafter.
The black satin envelope with the invitation to change my view on love did change my life. For in fact, I did change my view. I no longer dreaded Valentine’s Day because I didn’t have romantic love in my life, but rather embraced the opportunity to celebrate two people who loved me most in the world.
I never gave up on love but rather kept my heart open to appreciate the beauty of this gift from the Lord. Perhaps it was this new view on love which opened my heart to meeting my soon to be husband.
Today’s Gift for Your Soul – Love is not an illusion. It is the greatest gift in the world and it is only in giving we receive. Share your love unconditionally. Be the answer to someone else’s prayer and surprise them with your love.