Hard hearts, Tender Hearts, and Sugary Hearts

Last year we did next to nothing for Valentine’s Day. This is because I am the Valentine’s Day grinch. This year, in order to repent of my hard hearted ways we went WAY overboard and did EVERYTHING!

Well, we did a lot.

At least compared to last year.

So let’s begin with why I don’t like Valentine’s Day.

  1. It is pretty much a made up holiday in which people feel coerced to give other people presents (even if they don’t actually love them), most of which is sugar, and spend hours of brain power and man power creating really cute Valentine’s mailboxes and Valentine’s cards for their kids, spending more than the needed amount on candy to go with the handmade Valentine’s cards, and then watch the kids inhale the candy and throw away all those super cute handmade Valentines the minute they get home.
  2. Then you have to deal with the sugar let down… but just until Easter, right?

Yes, I did say I was the Valentine’s Day Grinch, did I not?

But this year I was reading about love and this is what I read…”Some years ago a friend named Louis related to me a tender account about his gentle, soft-spoken mother. When she passed away, she left to her sons and daughters no fortune of finance but rather a heritage of wealth in example, in sacrifice, in obedience.

After the funeral eulogies had been spoken and the sad trek to the cemetery had been made, the grown family sorted through the meager possessions the mother had left. Among them, Louis discovered a note and a key. The note instructed: “In the corner bedroom, in the bottom drawer of my dresser, is a tiny box. It contains the treasure of my heart. This key will open the box.”

All wondered what their mother had of sufficient value to place under lock and key.

The box was removed from its resting place and opened carefully with the aid of the key. As Louis and the others examined the contents of the box, they found an individual photo of each child, with the child’s name and birth date. Louis then pulled out a homemade valentine. In crude, childlike penmanship, which he recognized as his own, he read the words he had written 60 years before: “Dear Mother, I love you.”

Hearts were tender, voices soft, and eyes moist. Mother’s treasure was her eternal family. Its strength rested on the bedrock foundation of “I love you.”

And I also read this… “If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with compassion and respect, showing our love in day-to-day interactions. Love offers a kind word, a patient response, a selfless act, an understanding ear, a forgiving heart. In all our associations, these and other such acts help make evident the love in our hearts.”

And this… “Love is the very essence of the gospel, the noblest attribute of the human soul. Love is the remedy for ailing families, ill communities, and sick nations. Love is a smile, a wave, a kind comment, and a compliment. Love is sacrifice, service, and selflessness.” (Read full text here)

And then finally I read this… “Understanding that our Heavenly Father gave His Only Begotten Son that we might have immortality and the potential for eternal life helps us feel of God’s infinite and incomprehensible love for us. Our Savior also loves us.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38–39)…

“The Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane and His agony on the cross redeem us from sin by satisfying the demands that justice has upon us. He extends mercy and pardons those who repent. The Atonement of Jesus Christ also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure. ‘For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam’ (2 Nephi 9:21; see also Alma 7:11–12)”

“That supreme act of love ought to send each of us to our knees in humble prayer to thank our Heavenly Father for loving us enough that He sent His Only Begotten and perfect Son to suffer for our sins, our heartaches, and all that seems unfair in our own individual lives.” (Read full text here)

So as I made Valentine after Valentine after Valentine… I cherished each moment with each child. I spent those 30 minutes or so just one on one talking and enjoying and learning more about my children. And I let them know how much I loved them. I know I am with them every day, but one-on-one time is way different than five-on-one time. (Sometimes it feels like 5 vs 1 time!)

And when we missed our first Valentine’s Day party because of sickness, I comforted and encouraged and loved and nurtured my kids and let them know it wasn’t the end of the world.

Because we had another Valentine’s Day party to go to just two days later. (Homeschoolers are SO social!!) And instead of getting irritated at suddenly becoming overly busy (which is actually not related to Valentines Day and a completely different topic) I focused my energy on showing love. Not just talking about love. But I tried to put into action what I had read. I practiced patience more intently. And I offered forgiveness. And I went out of my way to show respect. And compassion and understanding.

And I tried to treat others and love others the way God loves them.

It is not such a bad thing to celebrate and remember and try harder to practice love.

And my kids had a TON of fun!! (although they were really sad about missing that first party). And now  I am patiently, lovingly, and understandingly waiting for the kids to come off their sugar high.

dsc07117

It’s a good think I love those kiddos so darn much.

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