I spent Valentine’s Day away from my family this year. It sucked!
I’m in Myrtle Beach right now and have been since the beginning of February. I came here because winter takes such a brutal toll on my health (due to my life with MS) that I’m trying to avoid as much of winter as possible. So I’m skipping February! Now that I’m eternally thankful for.
Even though I had a very good buddy with me that day (thanks Ben for being here and being a good friend to me), not being with Erinn and Cate on Valentines just felt wrong. I took Ben to dinner at the Cracker Barrel. On Valentines Day. Man did I miss Erinn. Sheesh.
Anyhoo, Feb.14 has such significance for me outside the commercialized, sanitized version of it.
18 years ago on Feb. 14, 1997 I went to Elaine Grant’s workplace and bought her lunch. I was scared outta my mind because I was going to attempt the formality of asking her if it would be ok with her if I asked her daughter Erinn to marry me that night. That went real well and is indeed a wonderful memory. Then, later that evening, I cooked dinner for Erinn (the food was horrible but she didn’t say a negative word about it all night and that meal continues to be fodder for laughing out loud moments when we reminisce about it) after which I knelt on one knee and proposed. She said YES! That was the beginning of the best thing that ever happened to me.
3 years later (we were married at this point), FEB. 14, 2000, I was working for The Salvation Army doing street ministry. That was the day we officially opened Gateway. (www.thegateway.ca) There was a snow storm that day. I remember it well. It was the beginning of a ride that changed my life in ways I could never have predicted. For 14 years I ran that place. It was a beautiful community to be a part of for all those years and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it.
So it felt kinda wrong not to be home for Valentine’s Day. It felt wrong to be away from my Gateway family and be missing their 15th anniversary party and even more wrong not to be with Erinn and my actual family. (Can’t wait to see them in just 3 more sleeps)
But even though I wasn’t physically with them on Feb. 14th, I was there in spirit and I felt their love and presence here with me.
That’s why Feb.14, 2015 was manageable.
And that’s why I’ll always cherish Valentine’s Day.