12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” ~ John 15:12 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
Susan says that if the house ever catches on fire, the two things she’ll grab are the baby pictures and my sleep apnea machine. But if faced with the same situation, I have a different plan. I’m grabbing my box of Valentines.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but each year when I was in elementary school my mother saved all the Valentine cards I ever got. She put them in a Whitman’s Sampler candy box. When I was a young adult, I found them in a cupboard at her house, and since then they’ve been one of my most treasured possessions.
Not too long ago, Susan and I looked through the box together, and she was as pleased with the contents as I was. The cards back then — even the ones that kids punched out of books to pass out to their classmates — were so much nicer than the ones now. The Valentines were colorful and sturdy, friendly and loving and witty and funny — just like the children who signed their names on the back of them (using those fat pencils). My box is a reminder of just how beautiful life can be sometimes.
I can’t look at my Valentines without thinking about just how blessed I really am. I told you not too long ago that we just recently joined the Facebook community for the first time. I’ve reconnected with a lot of people I haven’t heard from since I left my hometown more than 30 years ago. Something that has amazed me is the fact that the people I lost touch with who loved me when I was young (grade school, high school, and college) still love me now. I guess childhood love is a deep-down kind of affection that’s strong enough to last a lifetime. My stacks of ancient Valentines are like “Post-It-Notes” to remind me of that fact.
My card collection is a reminder of friendships from the past and the good things I have now. It also reminds me of the bright promises I have in the future. With each passing year, more of my friends leave this life to be with the Lord. Recently I found a Valentine that a girl from my neighborhood gave me when we were in first grade. When we were 9th graders, she began to suffer headaches and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She passed away before she turned 18. My friend was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. It’s nice to hold a card in your hand that your friend once held in her hand all those years ago. It will be nicer to see my friend again on the last day, when Christ Jesus raises us from the dead with our Resurrection bodies.
I’ve heard so many people complain that they don’t like Valentine’s Day, either because they don’t have a sweetheart or because they never get the gift that they really want. Please, let’s not be that way this year. Instead, use this holiday to touch as many as you can with the love of Christ. Until our work here is done, it is good to share His love as we hold onto our memories, our mementos, and our most holy faith.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church ( where there will be cupcakes with “conversation hearts” on them at the potluck this Sunday.) The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.