97: Romance Shmo-mance

97: Romance Shmo-mance

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

Romance Shmo-mance

By Teresa Ambord

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

~Nehemiah 8:10

Here it is again — Valentine’s Day. For couples, it can be a wonderful day, but for singles, not so much. It can be downright dismal.

As a divorced mother, I learned years ago to make plans for myself on special days like Christmas and my birthday. It kept me from falling into the holiday blues like so many singles do. But while my son was growing up, Valentine’s Day didn’t bother me much. Back then, it was mostly about buying something fun for him, helping him address valentines for his classmates, and making cupcakes to take to his school party.

Now, my son is twenty-seven and no longer at home. I’ve been single for twenty-five years, and the February focus on love and romance is really starting to bug me. A lot. I sneer at the commercials depicting a handsome husband surprising his wife with diamonds. I cringe at the silly sitcoms suggesting that anyone without a date on Valentine’s Day must be a hairy ape. And as for those endless store displays of mushy cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and bouquets of roses… more than once I’ve contemplated mowing them down with my grocery cart. Accidentally, of course.

Yesterday, as I stood in line behind a young man who was buying one of those Valentine’s bouquets, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait till February fifteenth.” Then a guy behind me leaned forward and asked the young man how much the roses cost. He wanted to buy some for his own wife. I smiled and said, “Smart husbands do things like that. You must be a smart husband.” He sheepishly told me that it had taken him a while to learn to be “a smart husband.”

As I thought about that, it brightened my spirits to think of this guy making his wife happy by presenting her with Valentine’s flowers. That gave me an idea. Rather than getting depressed because I would not be getting roses or chocolate or diamonds or even a kiss, I decided to take the focus off myself by thinking of someone else with the same need. Immediately, I thought of three women in my church. They are lovely, godly women, but none of them has ever married. Like me, they would not be getting Valentine’s gifts.

I went back into the store and bought four small, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Then I arranged to deliver them to my friends secretly. The fourth box, of course, was for me. No, it isn’t the same as getting chocolate from a loving husband. But maybe, just for a moment, I brightened their spirits on Valentine’s Day. It sure lifted mine.

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