On St Valentine’s Day

[Cover Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay. Our garden picture is in summer!]

Across the upper lawn lies the chicken coop with its extended run, its three occupants strutting around, pecking the soil. To the side of the coop, I watch you at work, chattering affectionately to your brood as you put out their feed and clean out their ‘bedroom’. You’re dressed in an odd assortment of old clothes, fit for the task. Tomorrow we’ll have fresh eggs again for breakfast.

I’m gazing out of our bedroom window, viewing our back garden. It stretches out towards the cliff that overlooks Brighouse and across the Calder valley. In the lower garden, the well-pruned roses are ready to begin afresh their growth spurt that will climax in splendid reds and yellows. Soon, the herb garden will wake up to provide us with flavourings for our casseroles. Towards the top lie the gooseberry and jostaberry bushes, and strawberry plants, that crop richly in summer.

None of these things was my idea. I claim credit for finding the octagonal ‘Wendy House’ that has become my sanctuary. But choosing its furniture, sewing the tasteful curtains and cushion covers? That was you. That’s why I feel emotional when I sit there with my afternoon cuppa.

We’re going back to France for our main holiday this summer. You’ve made so many friends, and we’ve had four different invitations to go and stay. People appreciate you for your sincerity, humour and the way you ‘bring them out’. You’re much loved by our family, too, always looking out for ways to bless them with a gift, a book, or a new experience. 

As one of the writers of Proverbs (Ch 31 vs 10-12) put it:

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies. 

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

We both agree that the harmony we share after nearly 48 years of marriage has been hard won. There’ve been the highlights when life has seemed euphoric, but at other times we’ve had to plough life’s furrows yolked side by side. We’ve needed to adapt to changing circumstances, and to the way we ourselves have developed in different directions. But rain or shine, our shared faith has bound us together, as we’ve again and again turned to Jesus Christ whom we both trust for our strength. There’s nothing like an answer to a prayer over which we’ve both laboured, to fuse two hearts to be as one.

The years have been kind to you, and despite your surviving several health crises I’m lucky to enjoy smiling at an attractive lady, full of graceful vitality at 70.

Whilst the hormones of my youth have damped down with advancing years, our intimate moments seem as precious as ever. It’s as if I enter a timeless dimension where no achievement has any relevance, the outside world is far away, and nothing matters other than the love we share.

It’s a feeling that, occasionally, I enjoy as I’m spending time in prayer. It’s an invitation to ‘Live for an Audience of One’, as if – for a moment in time – Eternity stands still, and everything pales beside enjoying God’s company. 

And so, my dear Jane, Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. Very few readers saw my last post, https://johnhearsonwrites.com/2023/01/27/self-improvement-and-dark-materials/ The topic is very close to my heart. May I persuade you to read it?

3 thoughts on “On St Valentine’s Day

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