Stories of two people who know what it is like to feel left out on Valentine’s Day.

KEN’S STORY

In the 1940s, when Ken wasn’t much older than the young kindergarten children his daughter teaches today, his teacher placed a big box decorated with paper hearts and lace on her desk. She explained that Valentines cards are given to those we care about.  During the following week the girls made a big deal of it when they dropped in a fat pile, one card at a time.

On the day of the party, as the teacher opened the box and began passing out the little envelopes, Ken sat at his desk, waiting anxiously to see who had sent him a Valentine card.

As the teacher came toward him, her hands full of envelopes Ken sat up straighter.   She handed a card to the boy behind him and one to the girl, across the aisle from him, to add to her pile.

Maybe his were at the bottom.

When only two cards remained he was hopeful that one was for him. Yet, when they were handed out and the teacher returned to her desk to put the box away for the next year, he realized that not one person had wanted to give him a card.

He had hoped for at least one Valentine, now he hoped that no one would notice that he  hadn’t received a single Valentine. He put on his tough guy face because he wasn’t about to cry at school.

Maybe they thought a boy like him didn’t want a valentine. After all,  even he didn’t seem to know just how much he wanted one.

Over seventy Valentines Days have gone by, but this is the one he remembers most. The wound in his heart still stings and brings tears to his eyes. Part of him will always be waiting for at least one valentine.

Ken’s daughter shares this story with her class each year as a valuable lesson on how we can hurt people by things we don’t do as much as with the things we do.

Credit: guideposts.org/inspiration/angels/a-valentines-day-angel

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MARY ANN’S STORY

When Valentines cards were being distributed to classmates and the stack on the desk of pretty, popular girl grew Mary Ann prayed that she’d receive an acceptable amount of her own……Then she noticed that the new girl in class, gawky and shy, had received hardly any Valentine’s and she felt like crying.  How it could be right that some people got lots of attention while others were virtually ignored?

At college, with no boyfriend, Mary Ann felt completely left out. In her mail, that day, was a package from her 12-year-old sister containing a pretty choker, nestled in hearts cut from red construction paper. On the biggest heart her sister had written: To M.A., I love you, Jeannie.  Someone cared!

One February 14th, a few years later,  opening her door to retrieve the morning newspaper she saw flowers being delivered to her neighbor, Mary Ann she wondered if the only purpose for Valentine’s Day was to make cash registers ring for retailers and florists.

Swept up by envy and self-pity, she retreated to her bedroom to finish getting ready for work. Tugging a scarf from the top closet shelf, a shower of red paper hearts from her sister (that she had saved all these years) fluttered down on her, like confetti. And there was the one with the handwritten words: To M.A., I love you, Jeannie.

The power of that simple sentiment reminded her that the point of Valentine’s Day is to tell others that we care about them.   As she picked up the strewn paper hearts, people she cared about came to mind.  Those who need our love are all around us.

Not concerned if they’d arrive late she dropped cards in the mail that day to family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances who needed a word of encouragement and folks she had lost touch with, to let them know that she was thinking of them.

Credit:www.guideposts.org/friends-and-family/friends/my-valentines-day-resolution

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Former NFL player Tommie Harris had only been married for 41 days when his wife, Ashley had a brain aneurysm during a surgery. After he got the news, he was walking through the airport crying. He said that he weighed about 300 pounds and desperately wanted someone to hold him, hug him or to just notice him.

Yet, no one did.

He later lost his four-month-old daughter to SIDS. From that personal experience his faith continues to inspire him today to do more to serve others. “Now when I go to the airport my head is on a swivel, looking for the slumped-over shoulders, for the guy that may not look approachable, but I know he needs a hug.”

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Touching someone with kindness helps both the giver and the recipient.

Research shows that our bodies respond to a hug, a pat on the back, or a hand on the shoulder by producing the hormone oxytocin which has a calming effect leaving one feeling tranquil. It doesn’t matter if you are the giver or the receiver. It is simply the physical touch of another human being.

Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the ‘love hormone’ 💕, because levels of it increase with empathy, trust (relationship-building) and during hugging. Oxytocin counters the effects of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ which rises during tension-filled time. Chronic stress may pump up the rate in which new fat cells are formed because increased levels of cortisol cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. Cortisol exposure can increase visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat which is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and even certain cancers. Oxytocin may also have benefits as a treatment for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and intestinal problems.

Reach out and touch someone in kindness and improve your own health

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Debbie Query, of Gravette, AR lost her husband when he was tragically killed in a car accident, leaving her a widow, when their youngest child was only 2 years old. Several years ago Debbie and her four children started a tradition of hosting a Valentine’s Day luncheon for single ladies in her community who don’t have a Valentine with them because of tragedy, divorce or abandonment. Tea sandwiches, delicious green salads, fresh fruit salad and tea are enjoyed as beautiful music plays in the background and pictures are taken of the special event.  This young widow uses Valentines Day as a celebration of God’s love to help others who might be feel forgotten on this day.

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Military Veterans asked that their widowed not be forgotten when the veteran ‘passes’. One of the smallest things we can do to honor Vets wishes by remembering those who stood by them, as they served our country. Even a small Valentine card can brighten one’s day.

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Those who are alone, for whatever reason, often feel the pain of being left out when non-stop television commercials and store aisles with candy and gifts are everywhere. It’s common to feel like you don’t fit in when you are alone, especially at Valentine’s Day when couples will be celebrating with flowers, gifts or a special meal.

 God designed love to be shared. The eternal greatness of God’s love and care for us is demonstrated through the kind acts of others: parents, an older sister, Sunday School teachers, neighbors, grandparents, friends,  store clerks, coworkers, etc. 

February 14th (Valentine’s Day)  provides us a special opportunity to reach out to those throughout the community who because of tragedy, divorce, death, abandonment or some other reason might feel forgotten to let them know that we are grateful for their presence in our lives.

A simple Valentine card with the wonderful assurance of God’s infinite love for us, “We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (KJV) Each is sealed with a prayer that the heart of each person who receives one feels God’s love.

No matter who we are, or what is going on in our own life, we can encourage others, by celebrating God’s love. His love which never disappoints,  frees us to love others and  turns the day into a day of joy, for both the giver and the recipient.

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And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16 (KJV)

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This entry was posted in Blessings, Kindness, Valentine's Day, Veterans, volunteer, Widowed and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Stories of two people who know what it is like to feel left out on Valentine’s Day.

  1. Brian says:

    REMINDING OTHERS OF GOD’S LOVE
    Sharon Beth Brani shared in the Feb 1999 Decision

    One snowy morning in early February Valentine’s Day was only a week away. –that was the one day when I, a single adult, often felt lonely, unloved and forgotten. I always spent Christmas with family and usually New Years with friends.

    My mind wandered back to other Valentine’s Days. I had looked longingly at those beautifully decorated heart-shaped boxes of candy in the stores. Deep in my heart I always hoped that somehow I would be the recipient of one of them. But I never was.

    And flowers. As regularly as clockwork, on February 14 florists would deliver lovely arrangements to other women who taught at my school It seemed that husbands and fiancés knew how to communicate their love on that day. Although I was genuinely happy for all of these women, I still felt left out and unwanted.

    I longed to walk confidently in His love, but somehow the more I thought about the upcoming holiday, the more depressed I felt.

    I tried to block it all out of my mind and to throw myself into my activities as a first-grade teacher. That evening I grabbed a handful of school paper, and with my cup of hot tea sat down in my big comfortable chair by the front window. I saw snowflakes gently falling outside. Seeing through the falling snow, the lights of the house across the street seemed to twinkle. “Dear Miss Hester”, I thought. So faithful. Such a pleasant neighbor. I wonder if she ever gets a Valentine on Valentine’s Day, now that her husband is no longer living. closed my eyes for a moment, trying to imagine my 80-year-old neighbor being surprised by a lovely card with pink flowers. Then all of a sudden the familiar words of John 3:16 came to mind….

    I remembered how as a child, I first came to know God. He had used so many people to demonstrate His love to me. Parents. Sunday School teachers. Camp counselors. friends.

    But it was only in recent years that I discovered the greatness of God’s unchanging love for me personally. Human love had disappointed me and left me broken and struggling to go on with life; but God had touched me and had shown me a love that never disappoints. now I longed to demonstrate the wonder of God’s personal love to everyone.

    Then the question hit me, “Can I use Valentine’s day as a way to reach out to others with God’s love? I began to ponder the idea. All of a sudden, I knew that this year Valentine’s Day would be different. I would surprise a woman throughout my community with a special reminder that God loves them and He cares. And I would do it anonymously.

    The next day I drove through the snow to the nearby card shop. With a prayer in my heart that God would guide me to select just the right cards to communicate His love, I began to choose Valentine’s cards. Some flowered. Some plain, But each one with a message of love. Different faces kept coming to mind. Other single women who had no special someone in their lives at that time. Recent widows. A woman whose husband had left her with two small children. They all needed to be reminded that God’s eternal love and care was still reaching to them.

    I bought piles of cards that day. At the checkout counter my heart was racing with excitement as I got in my car and drove home.

    One by one I addressed the cards that evening. I wrote a simple note assuring each receiver of God’s love and care and included that powerful verse John 3:16.

    Each card was sealed with a prayer that the heart of each woman who received a card would feel God’s love. “Thank You, Father”, I whispered as I dropped the cards into the mailbox, the next morning. “Thank You for reminding me that Your love is always reaching out to others through us. And thank You for filling my heart with your lasting peace.”

    That Valentine’s Day was the beginning of an annual tradition for me, and now a few days before Valentine’s Day I still prayerfully select the prettiest cards, write little notes on the cards and maul them with joy. It is God’s eternal love that freed me to love others., IT is His eternal love that continues to inspire me to reach out to others today.

    Although I still don’t usually receive a big box of candy or a bouquet of beautiful flowers on Valentine’s Day, I am deeply satisfied just thinking about the ones who receive God’s message of love in a simple card.

    God has turned a drab, painful day into a delightful day of praise. He always does when we let Him.

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