Yesterday Valentine’s; Next Up, St. Paddy’s Day

Yesterday I walked into Bible Study at The Cove and found 500 women (yes, that many attend) wearing red. Red sweaters, red coats, red blouses, red scarves, red turtlenecks, red shawls, red pins, red earrings. In some manner of “fashion” each had adorned herself with a bit of (or for some, a lot of) red. Why?

It was Valentine’s Day.

Many of these women are widows. Many are divorced. Some have never married. Most are grandmothers. My point? The majority of them–I would suspect–are like myself. They weren’t going home to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a night out, or flowers and chocolates. They would spend their evenings alone.

We meet in the auditorium that seats about 5-600 women, and it was awash in red thanks to their wardrobe choices. Our hymns for the day, posted on screens above our heads, had a red background with a faint outline of red roses.  And, The Cove had a special treat for us. Gigi Graham, who attends our Bible Study and is Billy Graham’s oldest daughter, was going to speak personally, giving an update on her family and famous dad.

After Bible Study, we eat lunch in the grand dining hall that looks out over the mountains. Postcard perfect is the description here. Laughter filled the room as the ladies surprised each other with special Valentine gifts. (Here’s mine.) There was a lot of visiting between tables to show off cards, bouquets of flowers, framed pictures of  friends, baskets of goodies, homemade treats, and funny little gifts. This was a happy bunch of women, and you know what? They looked like little girls. The oldest of them was transformed into girl of about 8 or 9, delighted to be receiving a Valentine gift. Gone were wrinkles and any heaviness of spirit. They were giddy with joy. Why?

It was Valentine’s Day.

For these women, not having the requisite male in their lives didn’t seem to diminish the day. There was still love to celebrate, and plenty of love to go around. Love for friends, for family, for their Bible Study comrades, and for every person they encountered. They shouted out “Happy Valentine’s Day” and passed around hugs to friend and stranger, alike. They were excited to celebrate the day, male in their lives or not. I’m certain many would love to have their beloved spouse back. I’m sure many would be game for a new fella. But not having one didn’t dampen their spirits. While my young, single friends were crying over their lattes, these women were showing love to the world.

They are image-bearers. They love as their Father loves.

And, they do it loudly. What a bunch of raucous, old ladies.I can’t wait to see what they do on St. Patrick’s Day. You can bet, I’m wearing green.

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