THE TEARS OF VALENTINE'S DAY
February 14th has always been a wonderful holiday in our family. My bride and I have made it so. This morning she took some home-baked goodies to our little grandchildren, continuing the joy of Valentines Day that her mother, Wanda, did for her. Wanda loved the Day of Hearts! Our kids, Nate, Meg and Colin grew up with a "gladness of heart" on this day. Our grandbabies love it as well.
So why did I start weeping this morning after Susan left?
I sat down to read and then do some more writing, when my heart just broke - and freezing tears of sadness flooded me on this cold and windy Cupid's Day. I suppose in part, the depth of love that we ALL have for our children (and, if you have grandchildren) simply broke through to the surface - because of the worry that we may lose someone we love so dearly.
You see, one of my brood is missing today. And has been for five years, (this next month). No Valentines have been delivered to him.
I've well documented my many emotions and responses in print - both here and in my book to the death of my son, Nate Mansfield, then-aged 27.
Today, though, the overall sadness of complete loss simply overwhelmed me and I wept hard. I loved my son, as you love your kids, your spouse, your parents. And I've written about it - both the loss and the eternal gain.
I miss my son.
I didn't sign up to write books; I simply wrote the first book as a memoir and then others followed.
And you know what I've found over this year since BEAUTIFUL NATE's release?
That many people simply won't read it... largely because of their fear.
They don't want to "be Dennis and Susan" by experiencing every parent's nightmare. I understand because neither my bride nor I wanted to "be Dennis and Susan."
Yet, as February turns to March and the 5th year of not having him comes to a close, I realize - through my tears - that the publication of this book appears to be a bit of a "Book of Job experience" to people; though it's really not.
It's a book of joy from a parent about his child. It's a book of Valentine Love.
Yes, I remember before his death when I periodically turned to "Job' - that particular Old Testament book many people go to when things turn bad n their lives - and I needed help from God - for direction out of my own bad times.
I never REALLY knew how much worse times could actually get... and DID get.
At the moment I was informed of my son's death, "torrents of sea billows rolled" over my family, myself and my heart - and I KNEW either my faith in God was going to be fully real OR it was all a lie, even the worst of lies.
It was my choice.
I chose God.
At that very moment, I defaulted to one and only one verse of the Bible, bringing my entire remaining family members huddled together and shouted this through tears of deepest sadness - from a broken Valentine Heart:
"The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" - I screamed it both as a statement of fact and a foundational truth of a heart frozen in a moment of time.
Do so allowed for the start of the healing of my heart.
And, today, it is well with my soul.
Tears came today on a day of love. That's only natural.
Ah, but "peace like a river attendeth my soul" every day now - even amid my occasional tears.
Whether people read my books, whether my own life collapses in sadness or succeeds in happiness, my Valentine heart will beat both here and in eternity because of Jesus' love for me - and you - and Nate - and....