Here's something about me that is a bit unusual: I don't like chocolate. Well, maybe that's too strong a way to put it. What I don't like is the after-taste of chocolate that lingers around until I have to get up and drink some water or even brush my teeth. Given my choice, I'd probably choose a whole lot of other things to eat ahead of it. Like a good strong piece of bread with lots of stuff in it and a whole lot of peanut-butter on it.
And I'm not a fan of roses either. Oddly, my mother thought I was. Specifically, she thought I liked yellow roses. From the time a college boyfriend bought some for me through our wedding when she pushed me to have the attendants carry them rather than the tulips I actually prefer (she thought I was trying to save money!) until she lost her 'ever-loving mind,' as she used to say, she talked about my love for yellow roses. And, on occasion, bought them for me. Or bought sheets or tea cups covered with them. Gave me old family dishes (Spode), which have yellow roses with brown embellishments. The set isn't complete and I find them, sadly, rather unattractive, anyway. But she had it in her head for most of my life, so I stopped trying to convince her otherwise.
Beve, on the other hand, knows me. Through and through. He's never--EVER--bought me roses or chocolate for Valentine's Day. The only candy he's ever bought (because I am, after all, very picky!) was back in our very, very lean years: yogurt-covered almonds. Hmm, I could go for them about now, come to think of it. Usually, he gets me a book. He can't go wrong with a book. One of my favorite Valentine's books was the whole My Friend Flicka trilogy he bought me when our children were tiny. I'd loved it as a child, and he knew that--such a sweet, romantic thing.
Here's the thing about the Beve. He doesn't like Valentine's Day. He doesn't like the idea that culture dictates when and how he should show/tell me that he loves me. He'd rather surprise me with tulips on some random Friday afternoon because he's thinking of me than on a holiday created by a greeting card company. This is a very prosaic view, of course, and not always one I've appreciated in the course of our marriage. Don't get me wrong, I've loved the surprise of those unexpected gifts when HE thinks of it, but I've also wanted the romance of Valentine's Day. And, let's be honest here, I hear of what my friends' husbands do and feel envious.
But last night, Beve surprised the socks off me. I was sitting in bed reading his Kindle because mine has been limping along for months. Finally, two days ago, it gave up the ghost. Even Kindle support couldn't help. So Beve suggested I take over his. Very sweet of him, but not a huge sacrifice since he doesn't use it all that often, and I read EVERY SINGLE DAY (by the way, just finished Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin--magnificent. I'm reeling from it and from how it deepened and broadened the movie, "Lincoln"). Beve was sitting beside me looking at cars on Craigslist. Yep, his nightly craigslist devotional.
Now, let me be clear, I was leaning back on my pillows as I read. Leaning back on them. But suddenly, I shifted to discover something very strange and hard under them. A new Kindle Fire. An exceedingly abundant, beyond all that I could ask or think Valentine's gift. I was so shocked, I said his name loud enough that SK told me today she thought something was wrong. It wasn't the cost of the gift that so amazed me, it was the dead-on rightness of it, and the more than I'd asked for. I was completely content with using his Kindle. I was just glad to have one that I could trust. But Beve wanted me to have more than just what was necessary.
Today I'm really thinking about how much my husband reminds me of my Father in heaven. How his love for me points to the Father's love. Though God gives us what we need, we are also told that He's the one who gives 'exceeding abundantly, beyond all we can ask or think." (Ephesians 3: 21) Sometimes I think that my desire for God is too small, that I don't allow Him to give me as much as He wants to; there is so much more that He desires for us. He gives us relationships on heart to point to how much He loves us, but He loves us infinitely more. Let's let our imaginations run wild with what He might do for us if we let HIM be our Valentines this year.