The spring of 2002 was a difficult but growth-filled time in my life. As I prepared to graduate from college, I was moving toward a position on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. But God used that time to break me and reveal areas where I needed healing. In that process of learning about who I was created to be, I chose not to go on staff with Crusade. I also began to reconcile past hurts with God’s grace.
February 14th of that year was a marking point in that growth.
My Bible study was reading through Changes that Heal, and the first part of the book (“Bonding to Others”) was throwing me to my knees. I had so many issues in that area of my life that I found myself crying whenever I read it – whether in the comfort of my own home or curled up in a booth at Jim & Milt’s BBQ. Self-examination was painful, especially as I began to pray about the roots of those problems. On February 13th, I made a breakthrough of sorts. I was sobbing in the arms of a close girl friend when my doorbell rang.
My roommates were pretty bad about not answering the door if they weren’t expecting anyone, so the task was left to me. I brushed the tears away and walked across the house to see who was calling on us so late at night.
My cat followed me to the door, and I opened it to an empty porch. My eyes travelled across the front walk and into the street. There was no sign of our guest until I looked lower.
Two bouquets of tulips were resting on our porch.
I retrieved them and brought them inside. One of the bunches had a card marked with my name; the other bore the name of my roommate Heather. I called Joyce out of my room – that was enough prayer for one night – and together the three of us puzzled over the delivery.
The mystery wasn’t solved for several days, but I was warmed by the indication that one of my friends cared enough to bestow such a beautiful random act of kindness upon me. Finally, it came out that Andy was the culprit. He had flat-out lied to me when I asked him – he didn’t want the credit.
Until today, that was my favorite Valentine’s Day memory.
Don’t worry, Andy, your kindness has not been forgotten. But February 13, 2004, has offered a second act.
This has been one of the roughest weeks I’ve had in a while. It may not be the worst I’ve experienced, but it’s up there.
I had sort of been seeing a guy for several months and I thought it was going fairly well. I was wrong. We called it off on Monday night. (So much for pre-empting.)
Of course rejection always carries with it certain questions about what could have been different. I’ve been processing through the anger, the bitterness and the pain for the past several days. But a bigger blow came on Wednesday night.
My little sister has been arrested for the third time, and this time she’s not coming home. As soon as she’s released from juvenile, she’ll be sent to a camp for troubled youth. The minimum stay at this camp is one year; the average is eighteen months. My family is hoping (praying, even!) that she’ll be a different girl when she returns. I’m also praying for her walk with Christ.
Few people know about the situation with the boy (at least in its entirety). Fewer still have heard about my family situation, and not many people know both sides of the story. I’ve found comfort in the arms of my Jesus and of my friends. I’ve been through a lot of this before, and it doesn’t hurt nearly as much when it becomes old hat.
But the love shown through the pain is never cliche.
There was a knock on the door this afternoon as I sat on my bed. I opened it to a florist delivery man and two vases full of tulips. After signing the necessary paperwork, I carried the heavy vases to the dining room.
Who on earth could these be from?
Alisa and I each received a bouquet, and beneath our names and address was her cell phone number. (I didn’t realize it was her number at the time, I just recognized the area code.) Based on the area code there, I wondered if her parents had sent them. (That would have been extravagant, I thought, especially since they’d already sent her gifts!)
I ripped open my card, eager to solve the mystery.
I had to blink back the tears to salvage my mascara.
My friend Kathleen, who knew that it had been a difficult week for me, had sent the flowers. She told me later, “If you can’t receive flowers from a boy, you should get them from a twin!”
Hey, according to at least one web site, tulips mean eternal love. I’ll take God’s love any day.
Maybe tulips are my favorite flower after all.