It’s an honor to publish the following article, written by Shawna Horn, pastor and friend. You can visit Shawna’s website at pastormomma.wordpress.com.
My Funny Valentine
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. And we did the typical family Valentine’s day things. The kids each got a small box of chocolates. They each made their own heart-shaped pizza. Our third child, upon finishing his pizza, took one final piece of pepperoni and ripped it in half.
“It’s like half a piece of pepperoni, like my half heart,” he said.
My heart sank a little bit. We spent the rest of the evening playing games, trying to distract from all the hearts.
There are a lot of reasons to struggle with Valentine’s Day. I get it. For those who have not yet found their ‘valentine,’ for those who have lost their ‘valentine,’ for those who have broken relationships, Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder of the heartbreak in the world.
For my 8 year old, Valentine’s day is a constant reminder of his heart condition. Everywhere he looks he sees hearts. And it reminds him that he only has half of a heart. Born with tricuspid atresia, his heart only developed two chambers, instead of four. He has endured three major open heart surgeries by the time he was 3 and a 1/2 .
So Valentine’s Day, a day full of love and hearts, is a very real reminder of his mortality.
I can never know what it’s like to be a child and have to face my mortality on a regular basis. It doesn’t seem fair, when you consider what is fair in the world. It doesn’t seem fair in the world that children suffer at all.
And this is the journey of Lent. It is the journey to both embrace our mortality and proclaim our hope of a better way. It is embracing the fragility of life and at the same time recognizing that this world is the not the world that God intended. It is about understanding that by becoming human, God was able to walk in our pain and overcome its finality.
It feels odd to have Valentine’s day during lent, but there is also something very poetic about it. In a time where we reflect on the pain in our own lives, it is an invitation to consider the people around you.
It is an invitation to love others in the midst of their suffering.
This week as a Lenten practice, take some time to consider what it is to see someone else’s pain and then what it is to love them through it.