Happy Valentine’s Day.
The visceral response to this holiday really struck me today. I work in an office where I saw–all before lunch– the full spectrum of all this holiday has to offer: from a love note delivered every hour on the hour and carefully arranged on (his) desk or florist delivery vans out my window, to the people wearing black making snarky comments about commercialism and feigning to mask envy and resentment with irony and coolness. The magnitude of these responses to a fairly ordinary day betrays there’s more going on in our hearts than most of us are willing to admit.
I am having my own response to Valentine’s day. First, it’s my parents’ anniversary. I don’t care who you are, it’s a big deal when marriages last that long. Second, a couple friends have their birthdays today, one of whom we bullied against his will into celebrating–a kind of thing that warranted a real plan. Birthdays are a big deal to me, and woe is the holiday that tries to win out over one. Hands down, birthdays take the cake.
Let the record show I actually like Valentine’s day. I always have. It would be hard for me NOT to love a day devoted to celebration, appreciation, affection, mail, stationery, chocolate, flowers, and the color red. I consider it National Red Lipstick Day.
(Pictured is the best red lipstick of all time. It’s Rouge Dior Rouge Favori from Nordstroms. If I had my way, I’d wear it every day for the rest of my life and then be buried in it. Note: If I look great–and more important, thrilled to be alive–I am most surely wearing this.)
Today, though, is Day 2 of the 40-Day Bare Face. My lenten fast rules out wearing my favorite way to mark the day I like with what I love. I feel like I lost something–like something was taken from me and now I’m noticeable and exposed. One might think that the red lipstick would make a woman noticeable and exposed, and it does, but this is not that kind.
Noticeable and exposed–bereft.
I feel shorn.
I came across a French proverb that translates, “God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb”.
And today seems to be a windy one for the shorn.
Sometimes our comfort isn’t in stilling the wind. Sometimes it’s in trusting that even that which cuts cruelly is only a cool breeze–one that’s already been tempered by the Good Shepherd.