Do you remember what a View-Master is? That wonder-filled, binocular-like instrument with a circular cardboard reel of images? With the click of my finger, I could be transported to places I’d never been. Oh, I wish I still had one. In fact, I think I spent so much time with my View-Master as a young girl that it affected my brain function.
My brain works like a View-Master only with imagined images, and it immediately started clicking when I saw this young man on that cold January morning in the drizzling rain. It was very early, and I had just parked the Jeep and was walking through the grocery store parking lot when I met him. I didn’t really meet him, but I saw him as he walked toward his vehicle. He was dressed appropriately for a desk job, and he carried one long-stemmed rose, wrapped in cellophane and secured with a red ribbon. One rose, the spring in this step, and the smile on his face coming from deep inside – well, my brain soon filled up its View-Master card.
Such a simple act—but I wondered what would cause a young man (young is relative, you understand) to get out really early on a frigid, rainy January morning, make the trek to the grocery store, and come out with only one long-stemmed, red rose. There would be a number of possible reasons, but something says no matter the reason, he wanted someone to know he cared. So I clicked through images of that rose being delivered to a young wife who had just given birth, or to a sweetheart on her first day on a new job, or to an ailing mother in the hospital, or to a young daughter on her birthday, or perhaps it was a peace offering to say, “I’m sorry.” Interesting that every image was of smiling faces and the feeling that hearts and hands were connected. Whoever enjoyed the fragrance of that rose that January day will forever have a sweet memory of an act of love.
I’d like to think I could make someone’s day like that – but it won’t be on Valentine’s Day – people expect it then. (Don’t feel sorry for Bill – I made cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache.) Billions of dollars will be spent today to illustrate love – cards, candy, flowers, jewelry, and romantic dinners. Sweet memories will be made all because the calendar said so. But, I rather like our Father’s model—a surprising, sacrificial act of love that comes when we least expect it, and He continues to do that, doesn’t He? So, go ahead. Make someone happy day today with a big, old, mushy “Will You Be My Valentine?” card. And then with spontaneity and surprise, deliver another rose or a box of chocolates on another day when it’s least expected. It’ll make you feel good, too, because the fragrance of a rose always lingers on the hand of the giver.