Some people get feet of sparkling white snow, some get a quarter inch of ice and giant puddles. I guess ours is beautiful in its own way.

Welcome to this delightfully wet, chilly, pandemic Valentine’s Day. It’s been a tough year. Maybe you’re blissfully happy or maybe you’re barely getting by. Regardless, one of the writers I follow posted something worth reading yesterday. Here’s to a love that lasts.

“Wow. Wow. I can’t count how many Valentine’s Day posts I’ve made ensuring the never-marrieds, divorced folks, the broken-hearted, the second-starters, the single moms, and the widowed are seen and loved on this manufactured holiday. Can’t even count. Of course, I always wrote these love notes safely ensconced in a decades-long marriage with fancy dinner plans and some new bauble on my finger.

I’m now in the category of women I used to write to on V-Day.

I am the freshly divorced, shockingly single, solo parent this year. I couldn’t have imagined it in a million years. Last year at this time, I’d just returned from NYC where Brandon took me to see Hamilton for our 26th anniversary. It feels like yesterday and also twenty million years ago. The things I didn’t know, you guys. It is actually impossible to even think of now.

Here is what I want to say today: This devastating, traumatic year has taught me more about love than I ever knew in all the previous years combined. In the last seven months, I learned about love that lasts, love that is healthy and strong and forever, and for me, it is not contingent on marriage. My family and kids and friends have shown me the truth. I swear to the Lord, they have not let me go one single day alone, not even half of one day. In fact, on Valentine’s Day, I am having homemade dinner and game night in with three of my best friends and their husbands. LOL. The seven of us! And I don’t get out of any of it; They are like “What are you bringing, girl??”

Love that lasts might be a spouse, but it might very well not be. It might be the faithfulness of your siblings and best friends and parents. It might be the unshakeable love of your children. Maybe it is located in the relationships with your neighbors or cousins or favorite aunts and uncles. Perhaps it is with your own lovely self, because you are your own best person.

I do not feel remotely sad about Valentine’s Day; I’ve done too much work. I am in possession of love that lasts, and now I know. So are you, whether it is inside a romantic relationship or not. Look up, look around. See it. Acknowledge it. Cherish it. You are beloved. I’ll leave you with a paragraph I wrote in “Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire” loooong before I knew how true it really was:

“Two of my besties, Jenny and Shonna, are wizards at “handyman” stuff….Such strength! I am on record that if something terrible ever happens to Brandon, you’ll find me hard-passing on and marrying these two. We will live happily ever after in a well-run, deeply organized house where I will cook and they will be my wives.”

So endless love from me and my wives and our three side husbands! We have everything we need, sisters. Love is real. Look in the right places and you’ll see.”

Jen Hatmaker 2/13/21