My aunt hosted a brunch over the weekend, inviting friends she picked up along the way. Some of us were family, some had met before, other of us were meeting for the first time. One such lady I knew I’d like the minute she walked through the door. Her name was Valerie. Beautiful and poised, her eyes held a spark that implied she had yet to be tamed, despite her seventy-one years.
As we sat there, sipping tea and chatting, my aunt looked at Val conspiratorially and said, “Tell them what you got for Valentine’s Day.”
You see, she lost her first husband in a house fire. When she started out with her second husband, marriage was anything but smooth. “We didn’t even consider divorce,” she said, ” we went straight to considering how we might kill each other.” But they stuck it out. They found their faith. They began to find their way.
It was their tenth anniversary he gave her the ring on her wedding finger, the design alone, exquisite. Several gold bands, climbing nearly to her knuckle, held variously sized diamonds–nineteen, to be precise, because they met on the nineteenth.
Forty years have passed since they said ‘I do.’ The schooner he had tattooed on his leg while they were yet young has faded with the years. She noted ‘Valerie’ inked on the flag was barely legible. “I could die and you could go right out and find another woman–there’d be no sign I even existed.”
Then Valentine’s Day rolled around. And the box of flowers she thought surely were for her, turned out to be for her husband. When she called him from his office, he feigned ignorance. How should he know who would send him flowers? She watched him read the note like a hawk eyeing its prey. Who would have the nerve to send flowers to her husband, at home, on Valentine’s Day!
“I think maybe you ought to read this,” he said. She took the note from his hand and read it.
The flowers had been for her all along.
“I have something else for you,” he said with a grin. Then he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a new tattoo–her name, written across his heart.
Shakespeare once penned, the course of true love never did run smooth. As with any good adventure, the road traveled may run askew, it may be fraught with potholes. No doubt you’ll be tempted to give up and turn back. But a funny thing with noble quests, the goal is always worth the task. If you keep at it, with all your heart, you just might find you’re stronger than when you first begun–and your story, far greater than anything you could have ever imagined . . .