Red-letter Day


A Red-letter Day

            As a single woman, I have seen nearly four decades of a red-letter day in February.  Valentine’s Day twists a mixture of varied experiences for a single woman.  This day has produced awkward moments and blessed moments, painful moments and sweet moments. I have been celebrated.  Flowers have appeared at my door.  Love notes and cards have been slipped onto my desk.  On several occasions I have been graciously invited to attend a couples’ banquet.  Imagine!  And then, there have been some very silent Valentine Days.

February 14 is one day out of the year that invites romantic overtures.  Women imagine the special candlelight dinner for two, the soft background music, and the whispered endearments.    We hunger for love.   We were made to love, and we were created for love.  We quickly can assume love is mysteriously ignited into full flame on this special day.   We elevate February 14 into romantic experiences and expressions only.  We forget that the journey of two is a commitment to lay down one’s life selflessly for the other.  I applaud couples who take this day to celebrate that kind of a commitment to each other.

In the flashy glitz and hoopla of commercialized Valentine’s Day, we single women tend to forget it only holds illusions.  Sometimes as single women, we need the reminder that love is not found in dinners, music and endearments although these are beautiful love expressions.  Love is a Person.  Love hopes.  Love trusts.  Love endures.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Love is the greatest.  No February 14 can encompass the mystery of love as does a love which is tested in the warp and woof of life.

I think of my Aunt Kate who knows something about committed love.   She and her husband were quite modest in their display of affection, but rarely was one seen without the other.  A few months ago, she buried her husband of nearly sixty-five years.  As my ninety-two year old Aunt leaned over the casket one last time, the sob of grief was heart-wrenching.  Here was a woman who worked hard alongside her farmer husband many days.  She birthed seven of his children.  She raised her family with limited modern conveniences.  She became who he was, and he became who she was.  Death ripped apart their oneness, but it could not tear their love.

Many of us single ladies secretly wish for such a love to knock at our door on this red-letter day. In the swirling mass of lacy pink and red hearts, we single women stand on the sidelines, daisies in hand.  In the figment of our imagination we hope to produce the miracle of love by whispering, “He loves me, He loves me not. He loves me. .  .” Suddenly the roses and chocolate comes for one.  She squeals with delight.  Eyes shining and glory dancing, she ecstatically tells her friend, “ It’s happened!  He is asked! I never dreamed it could be so sweet.” She drops her daisy and walks off without a backward glance.   The rest of her comrades hold their wilted daisies and wonder how they got missed.

Daisies and chocolate hold illusions, but the Rose of Sharon is a reality.  The Rose of Sharon never misses one of His single daughters standing on the sidelines.  Watch Him as He leans closely to them and whispers something.  You wonder what it is he is whispering.   I have an inkling just what it might be.   Check out Zephaniah 3:17.

P.S.  Oh, in case you forgot, the Rose of Sharon is also the Creator of chocolate covered strawberries.  Buy some. Share some.  Eat some.  Savor each bite with gratefulness for His goodness toward you on this special red-letter day.

He will take great delight in you,

he will quiet you with his love,

he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17b NIV

One and Only One

Sometimes when I awaken during the night, a few words clearly break into my sleepy consciousness.  A few nights ago it happened again.  The words glided gently into my ears while the early morning hours waited patiently to greet the dawn.  The line whispered, “One and only one, and yet not alone.”  In my half drowsy state, I mused upon the truth of that statement.  Singleness does not necessarily equal aloneness.

Just recently I read a friend’s article on single hood.  According to her research, she indicated that the ratio of Anabaptist single women to Anabaptist single men was grossly imbalanced. She found the amount of single women far outweigh the amount of single men.   Such statistics could yield a rather bleak future for these women.  In the same article, she wrote, “One ‘positive’ factor for the single Mennonite woman is that she has a lot of single female company as her friends.”  I assume she meant that one can find plenty of social life with her peers due to the availability of single women.  I do agree that I do not lack in the abundance of women friendships, but they include both single and married ladies.

As I pondered my friend’s article, I thought of a recent social event.  Within just a few hours notice, five of my single friends and I planned a pizza dinner in town.  (That is one benefit of being single. We often can more quickly adjust our personal schedule than a household with a number of people.)   The dinner time was low-keyed.  Maybe we were tired.  Maybe after working all day, we just needed to time to unwind.  Our quiet celebration of friendship, womanhood, and life offered a cozy togetherness that touched a comforting spot.  Nothing changed in my single status that evening.  I came home as one and only one, yet I knew I was not alone in this world.

The realization of this truth is not limited only to social events.  A few weeks ago the winter flu of fever and cough attacked me.  I was on my couch the greater part of the week.  My family and friends checked in with me daily via texting or phone calls. My neighbor, Cathy, sent her daughter over with chicken noodle soup and homemade bread.  Another evening my young high school friend, Sierra, brought in a meal for me.  My friend, Anna, picked up some necessities in town when I was too sick to go out.  My friend Irene picked up supplements and stopped in to visit me.  I was one and only one in the house that week, yet I did not feel alone, for I was surrounded by caring friends.

Sometimes as single women, it is easy to focus on our single status and what we don’t have.  True, as singles, we are one and only one.  Yet I have never been more convinced of this wonderful truth, “We are not alone.”   I think of Jesus’ disciples who must have felt a high level of anxiety when Jesus told them He was leaving them.  He promised them that the Father would give them another Comforter that would abide with them forever.  (John 14:16)   We, as single women, are promised the very same Comforter.  He walks daily with us in every breath we take, in every job we do, and in every thought we think.  No friend can be as constant as is Immanuel – God with us.  That is why we are never alone, even though we are one and only one!