How many of us can remember getting our hearts broken? Honestly this happened to me only once. I was never serious enough about any young men to have my heart broken over. I learned a lesson about experiencing a broken heart in the third grade. I was alone in my pain because I was surrounded by too many brothers and sisters, and our mother was too busy to hear my sad little story. If I kept this in my memory bank it was for a life-learning reason. I am grateful to God for all my childhood memories because they have served into molding me in who I have become today. Through the good and bad, Jesus will always be my Valentine. My love story with Mike is that of two people whom God brought together forever. We are truly one; I see what he sees and we love each other unconditionally. That will never change. We are examples to our family on how to overcome any situations that the world throws our way. I always look to God for all my misgivings in life and continually pray for His guidance. I want to become the woman that God created me to be, but only through His special graces can I say, “Thank You for loving me, Lord.”
This is the true story of my one and only heartbreak:
She carefully sorted her Valentine cards, setting aside the one for her teacher. Just one card read, “Will you be my Valentine?” This card made her little heart patter with excitement. She was smitten by Joe, the smartest kid in her third-grade class. He was perfect in her eyes; even his crowded front teeth made her smile. No one in her family of eight knew that she would one day marry Joe. How could they understand? Her four- year-old sister was too young to grasp these things, and her brothers, all three of them, would tease her to the point of tears. Her two older sisters thought of her as a mere child. There was only one person she could trust: her best friend Anita. Anita was petite in size, kind and sweet. Only she knew how this little girl loved Joe.
It was Valentine’s Day, the day she would know for certain if her true love would reciprocate. The bus ride to school seemed to take forever, and all she could think about was the cards she and Joe would exchange. Her unspoken love was about to reach a new zenith, and this was a lot for an eight-year-old to bear. When she entered her classroom she quietly took her seat near the back of the room. They sat in alphabetical order, so she was always among the last ones. She wished her last name started with a “P” like Joe’s instead of a “U”. All day long, during lunch and two recesses, she waited for the Valentine card from Joe. The art project that day was to make a holder for all the Valentine cards. She cut and pasted, and the end product was perfect for holding that one card from Joe. Fifteen minutes before dismissal, the teacher announced that it was time to exchange cards. The girl’s eyes widened with excitement as she pulled her brown bag containing the Valentines. You could hear the giggles as all the children took turns in handing out their cards. It was Joe’s turn, and, as he came toward the little girl, she put her head down. This was it, she thought to herself; now I will know how much he loves me. The bell rang it was time to go home. She held that one card tightly in her hand and opened it. The card had a picture of a kitten holding a heart which read, “You are sweet, Valentine.” What! No! No! This was not happening! She looked over at Anita. Anita was smiling, almost gloating. The same card, purchased at Woolworth’s, that she set aside for Joe was in the petite hands of Anita! Joe loved Anita, not the little girl. She wanted to cry so badly that it hurt; but she remained strong. The bus ride home was torture, and sitting next to Anita added to her heartbreak.
Yes, this is my first memory of Valentine’s Day. I have no idea what became of Joe, but I do remember that he broke my heart that day.
This year no Valentine cards will be permitted in the elementary schools in our district because of COVID-19. I loved this holiday in grammar school, and our mother always made sure we had Valentine cards to pass out to our friends. Hopefully this holiday will be in full force next year. My poor eight-year-old grandson Jacob will miss Valentine’s Day. He will never know who secretly loves him.
Valentine’s Day has become a huge marketing ploy. The statistics are staggering; over $22 billion has been spent annually on this holiday. The average consumer will spend $142 on the Feast Day of St. Valentine. Remember that it is about love and not the gifts. (I have to keep repeating that to myself.)
According to a survey from Compare Cards, which polled over 1,000 people in the United States about Valentine’s Day, this is the breakdown:
Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $82
Millennials (24 t0 39): $113
Gen X (40-55): $293
Baby Boomers (56 to 74) :$55
St. Valentine of Rome is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages. St. Valentine was put in prison by the Emperor Claudius for marrying couples and professing his faith in Jesus. While he was in prison he healed a jailer’s daughter of blindness. On the day of his execution he left the girl a card signed “Your Valentine.” This is the reason we exchange Valentine cards.
Dear Lord, You are love; without You, our hearts would be unfulfilled. Teach us to love as You love. Send us special blessings on St. Valentine’s Day. Allow us to smell the sweet fragrance of Your Holy Presence. Bless all who have lost a loved one and fill the void with Your love. Thank You for Your unconditional love that brings unity to all. Amen.