Will you accept the challenge?

~~~PLEASE READ TO THE END~~~

 

“I feel like I should go.”
           “Whenever you’re ready.”
“Not yet. I think I’ll have some more juice first.”

She smiled and filled his glass, and then plopped into the chair next to him, sighing deeply. He smiled, raised his glass to her, and said,
            “Here’s to us.”
She winked and gave him the biggest smile she could. Then she giggled,
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He rolled his eyes and they laughed together. They’d been together for ten years and had never yet ‘properly’ celebrated a Valentine’s Day together.

This was the thing that had drawn them together in the first place – the knowledge and desire to live every day as Valentine’s Day. To do things with love – loving strangers and animals and friends, and inadvertently loving themselves.
Every day the opportunity to love each other was not wasted.
Every week he brought something new for the garden – so her house had a permanent supply of her favourite plants and flowers.
Breakfast in bed, taking turns with housework, a surprise bottle of champagne or dinner out, were not just saved for special occasions.
Uplifting words of love and encouragement, and exclamations at her beauty and intelligence, were a daily thing.
So when Valentine’s Day came around, it was just another day for them.

He reached for her hand, and stroked it gently, asking,
            “Do you think they’ll ever get it?”
She shrugged and replied solemnly,
            “Some do, and that counts.”

He nodded thoughtfully, and then said,
            “I broke our rule a bit…I got you something for Valentine’s Day. It’s in the cupboard.”
Raising an eyebrow, she retrieved a large, flat box from its hiding place.
As she slowly lifted the lid with a frown, he grinned,
            “Don’t be too mad. It’s for the baby.”

Instinctively, her hand rested on her swollen belly for a moment, and she caressed the bundle that had been nestling there for the past seven months. Then she smiled lovingly at him, and opened the lid.

She lifted out the large scrapbook, entitled ‘The Love Journal’, and began to page through it. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, she let them travel a silent path down her cheeks, wetting her neck, as she saw what he’d done.

He had taken the photo’s and memories and filled the book with them, as well as tips and quotes on each page, as a reminder and guide to the beauty of loving every day – doing things for others unselfishly. At the end of the book, in a sleeve, was a voucher to purchase another journal – she removed it from its plastic resting place and gave him a watery smile,
            “For me and the baby?”

He nodded, a tear escaping from the corner of his eye. She gently nestled in next to him and held him tightly when he said,
            “I guess I’m ready.”
Looking up at his handsome face, she kissed his chin and whispered,
            “I love you.”
He held her, and whispered words of love quietly. Then laying a hand on her stomach, he whispered a little more, before closing his eyes.

The doctor and nurse watched from the doorway, tears streaming down their cheeks, listening and waiting patiently for the young couple to say their goodbyes.

 

Today is Valentine’s Day. I am single and alone. I have friends who are single and alone. For some, they have lost their loved one either to death or divorce, and this is their first ‘Day of Love’ alone. I woke this morning with a heavy heart, and the story above sprang into my mind as I felt a little sorry for myself and my friends, and our plights of singledom.

I wrote this story, and the tears poured down my own cheeks. Even now, as I type, there is a lump in my throat.

Because so often we miss the point.

Society fills the shelves, internet, newspapers and magazines, with the impression that this day is more special than any other. People overspend, and take this as being the opportunity to ‘be romantic’ and go out for a special meal. My daughter will be 13 this year, and peer pressure has said for the past 3 years that they each HAVE to have a Valentine.

This morning, I woke with a heavy heart.
Right now, I am feeling determination.

Here’s the challenge :

NOT TODAY…but at least one day a week from tomorrow….CELEBRATE LOVE.

Love is not about having a romantic partner – even though that might be nice sometimes. 

Love is about PEOPLE – that teenager that is struggling with self-esteem; the old lady down the road who can no longer leave her house; the grumpy old man who always sits alone in the coffee shop; the retail worker who puts in such long hours and is more than likely underpaid for it; the person who has lost a spouse; the baby who has been abandoned.

So HOW do we actually take up the challenge, you ask?
[For some of us it comes naturally, but for others, it may require stepping out of a comfort zone.]

I’m sure you’ll find many ways….but here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Give away some of your smiles….even if you don’t feel like smiling. The effects are awesome.
  • Pay for that person’s meal/coffee/whatever.
  • Buy some flowers and randomly hand them out to strangers.
  • Help someone – a stranger? Push their trolley, carry heavy parcels, compliment them.
  • Help a friend – offer to babysit, invite them for a meal, take them a meal.
  • Go to a local home for abandoned babies and just hold one, for a few minutes.

    Did I mention a smile?

The opportunities to love are endless. One day a week…you can do it.

SO I DARE YOU – will you take the challenge?

 

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