“Nothing quite takes the taste out of peanut butter like unrequited love.”- Charlie Brown
There are roses in every corner of every store. Michael Buble is crooning on the radio. It’s suddenly okay to eat an excessive amount of chocolate and spend extra money on fancy 5 course sweetheart dinners. Boyfriends and girlfriends are walking hand in hand down the sidewalks while single people post Facebook statuses about the best way to survive…as if surviving this particular Thursday is harder than surviving any other Thursday.
Okay, so it’s a little harder. Because whether or not you have a Valentine, or a husband or wife or a girlfriend who’s not your girlfriend but “really she’ll change her mind after I leave a cake on her doorstep” we all have some love to give. And even though that’s true all the time, I think we’re more aware of our desire to love and be loved on this day in particular. At least I’d hope so, since under all it’s shiny red heart shaped boxes, rose petals, and hallmark cards, Love is in fact, the point.
Yesterday I was doing some late night shopping at Giant when the blinding array of red and pink cards caught my eye. Deciding I’d like to browse, or at the very least obnoxiously open 17 singing cards, I passed by an older gentleman grumbling to himself as he read card after card in the “For your wife” section. I left him to his muttering and reached for a sparkly red card with lots of hearts all over the front. I cracked it open to find that the inside message was as simple and cute as it was profound.
“Happy Heart Day!”
And that got me thinking. If we push aside all the mumbo jumbo. All the rom-com movies, the singles awareness parties, and the idea of having a valentine or not having one and get at the real crux of the matter…I would hope we all have a happy heart day. A day where you know you are loved whether or not you get a flower or you don’t. A day where you can turn up that song in your car and feel just as excited to sing at the top of your lungs as you would be on any other Thursday. A day when you know that no matter how much people do or don’t love you, you always have the opportunity to give love away. That’s the way Jesus intended it. Because with him, we start from love. We don’t have to earn it or fight for it or buy him flowers to validate it. He gives it for free, so we can give it for free. And if that’s not a reason to have a happy heart…then I don’t know what is.
“Well Christie, that’s all well and good, but my heart’s broken and you don’t know anything about it.”
You’re right. I don’t know your heart. But I know mine. And I know a few others’.
I know…A lot of things in the world come against us having happy hearts today. There is real honest to goodness pain. There is loss. People are lonely, really lonely. Not just on this day but every day. Relationships break and mend and tear and hurt. Love begins and grows…it thrives. But it also sometimes fades…or ends. There are thoughts in your head on repeat and you can’t stop them you can’t stop them and you think today they just might win. There are parents fighting, there are siblings warring, there are bullies picking on the little guy. There are people hiding because they’re afraid people wouldn’t love them anymore if they really knew the truth. Someone’s sitting by themselves at lunch, someone’s crying in the bathroom, someone’s desperate.
“Don’t tell me to have a happy heart, you don’t know anything about my heart.”
You’re right. I don’t.
But He does. And that’s why his love is more important than anyone else’s’. Because your friends can know you, and your mom can know you and your boyfriend, girlfriend, tennis partner, uncle, aunt, sister, brother, weird step- cousin- twice removed can know you but not the way Jesus knows you. And they can love you, but not the way Jesus loves you. Because he can see every crack, every slip up, every pain, every joy and love you RIGHT THERE. Jesus can be with you and love you RIGHT HERE, this second. He knows how many beats are in your heart right now, he knows the thought on the tip of your tongue, and the song that’s stuck in your head. He sees the dream you have and knows how to make it reality. He feels the hurt you carry. He knows the life you crave and he’s sitting there ready to you love you knowing all of that. How could there ever be a greater love..than this?
One of my favorite passages of scripture is 1 John 3:20. It reads, “This then is how we know we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence, even when our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
The way we set our hearts at rest…is simply by knowing that God is greater than our hearts. He is greater than our hearts.
He is greater than our hearts. On this day and every day.
If you learn nothing else on this day of hearts, let it be that we love and serve one who is greater than any love song, than any valentine, or any box of chocolates. And the best way to love him back, is to give that love away.