Unless you live under a rock, you know that today is Valentine’s Day. It is a day that is seared into the minds and psyches of most people in America. Some have fond memories of this holiday that they will forever treasure. For others, this day brings up memories of their injured hearts. For me, this holiday always brings up a memory of embarrassment from the 3rd grade.
I never found out exactly why I was enrolled in a two-room schoolhouse. We had moved into a vast married student housing complex while my dad completed his master’s degree. I think the school was just one room upstairs and a basement, but for the sake of accuracy, I’ll say “two.” Multiple grades were in my room at school. I’d never experienced anything like it. It wasn’t bad. I liked to learn and was always more interested in the 5th-grade lessons. Anyway, the school was small, isolated in the country, and everyone had grown up with everyone else, so I was new, very new, and painfully shy.
For most of the school year, I managed to hide. I ate my sack lunch in the classroom instead of going outside, where my schoolmates played. Before and after school, I quietly stood in line to board THE school bus. My teacher pitied me and teamed me with another boy to raise and lower the American flag each school day, but that didn’t help. I remained disconnected.
One segment of PE (physical education) was square dancing. I tried, but having never been in such a social exercise, I stumbled through the lessons with a perpetually flushed face and downcast eyes. So, on that fateful day when my mother had required me to sign a Valentine’s Day card for the girl whose name I’d pulled from the girls’ hat, I went to school unprepared for what the day held.
This Valentine’s Day contains a lesson we need to know about God. At lunchtime, my teacher made us all go outside. This was when she would distribute the cards. Wandering back inside when the bell rang, I approached my desk, and my cheeks immediately turned red. My desk was completely covered in Valentine’s cards. Being the first new boy ever to enter their world, every girl from all grades in our room gave me a card.
Seeing the mound of envelopes left me stunned and very embarrassed. While the other kids took a moment or two to open their envelopes, I quietly tore envelope after envelope open to read what had been written. My teacher was kind enough to begin a 5th-grade lesson, giving me time to work through my post office full of envelopes. Our heavenly Father treats us like I was treated.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”1 John 3:1
I know the girls in my 3rd-grade class were not in love with me, but for a fleeting moment, I felt accepted. A year later, my family moved. Never again would I have that experience, which was a good thing. But those few moments continue to give me a deeper insight into our Father’s lavishing love that He pours out upon us.
You may like: Loving Our Brothers and Sisters