by Kathy Smith
As Valentine’s Day arrives once again, I found myself reading over last year’s Facebook Valentine post I made to my late husband Kirk. I ended it with ‘Will you be my Valentine – forever?’ Even though he’s not with me any longer he will always remain my number one Valentine. Last week I discovered a Valentine card in his office that I made for him in 2003. I listed things in the card that I admired about him and though these attributes still remain, the list is much longer now. We just got better and better despite the obstacles in the way. Love and mutual respect made that possible. Kirk and I had some bumpy roads to navigate early in our marriage but with God’s grace and mercy, we persevered and were rewarded with what I believe was an extraordinary marriage and commitment to one another.
He loved me well. One of the ways he did that was by listening. And I don’t mean in the sense of asking that he take out the trash then doing it! But in the sense of having a knack for giving significant and special gifts because he listened and remembered. We never did exchange gifts a lot, primarily at Christmas. I have an issue with spending money you don’t have to buy people things they don’t need. So charitable giving was something I found pleasure in. Kirk did too but he also enjoyed surprising me with gifts from time to time.
My favorite gift was received years ago soon after he lost his job. We had to be very frugal until our life stabilized again. Christmas morning arrives and he presents me with a gift. It was obvious he had wrapped it himself making it all the more special! He could tell by my facial expression I wasn’t expecting anything and quickly announced to me it only cost $5.00! “Open it” he said! I did and found inside a used copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. A book I had mentioned to him long ago that I had never read and very much wanted to. He had gone to a used book store and found this copy for me. If this house were on fire I’d grab my little dog Tripp, then that book. I cry just remembering it and the sweetness of that moment. But love like that takes work, and thought and ears to hear. And by being the recipient, it makes you want to love better in return.
He kept romance in our marriage. I will never forget when he traveled to Vancouver BC and went to the same seaside restaurant three nights in a row. I said “You must really love that place.” He replied, “When I find a winner I stick with it, kind of like you.” What woman wouldn’t appreciate that? Kirk would travel each week and would fill the house with yellow sticky notes. I still have one in the medicine cabinet that says Missing You. Another in my nightstand that was found on my pillow saying Good Night Honey. He would even put them in the coffee can prior to our purchase of a Keurig. I would do the same for him trying to sneak them into his open suitcase on the bed while he showered. 1 Corinthians 13 ends with these words: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love!
Many years ago a British writer, Alexander Chalmers, wrote that the essential elements to happiness are: having something to do, someone to love and something to hope for. I find it interesting that happy is not one of the Fruits of the Spirit. However, I see happy as a by-product of doing the right thing. Lucky for us God instilled in each of us the ability to discern just what that is and it always starts with love and kindness. I am grateful for the many love lessons I learned from my Valentine.
A woman with a grateful heart with more blessings than she deserves. My courageous and kind late husband Kirk remains at the top of my gratitude list.