This isn’t what I thought my Valentine’s Day would look like when I was thirteen. I think at that age I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a stay-at-home mom. I would’ve never guessed that I’d spend the day with 86 eleven-year-olds. Thank goodness life turns out differently from what we imagine.
I’m sure I also thought that I’d be married by this time. Even though I go by Mrs. Kjergaard most days, I am pretty far from being married. This too is probably a good thing.
My point is this: when I was younger I thought I would have one great love in my life, and when I found him I would really understand what love was. The older I get I realize that my life is full of loves. A single life is by no means a loveless life. Do I know what it is like to be married and the selfless kind of love that that requires? Of course not. Are there still countless opportunities for me to express selfless love each and every day? Yes, indeed. (Case in point: I will be getting up nearly 45 minutes earlier to bring in Valentine’s Day burritos for my team at our 7:15 meeting). At the end of the day, if our purpose is to grow into the likeness of Christ, it seems silly to think that there’s just one path for that to happen.
I stumbled across this Dickens quote that I’d written down a long time ago. It’s from his novel Our Mutual Friend, which may be my favorite after Great Expectations (on a sidenote, I had to stop read-aloud at a particularly exciting part and they begged me not to stop even though it was time for recess!). “Love is in all things a most wonderful teacher…” Loving, or striving to love, has shown me some hard truths about myself. Love has also shown me some beautiful things about my life. According to my Meyers-Briggs personality (INTJ), interpersonal relationships should be difficult. I’m meant to be an engineer or some kind of scientist. 6th grade history teacher is not on that list. Yet, by the grace of God I am in a place where I deal with people all the time! And I love it, and I love them. Love covers a multitude of sins.
And so I celebrate Valentine’s day with two loved ones, Audree and Jenny. We’re going out for burgers and fries and shakes. And I will feel happy and blessed to have been given so many to love. I will also feel happy because the fries are top-notch.