Love is in the air! During February we celebrate St Valentine’s Day and we hold our Wedding Preparation Day in church for all the couples who are getting married this year. Of course, the shops make a big thing about St Valentine’s Day with the sale of cards, flowers and chocolates. I’m afraid that Valentine’s Day in our house is not a profitable time for local businesses. It usually consists of John saying “We don’t give each other cards, do we?”
However, as our thoughts turn to love and marriage I have one rather special story to tell. It’s about my own wedding – many years ago! On the morning of the wedding my father gave me a little silver horseshoe which I used to carry around with me in my purse as a memento of a wonderful day and a reminder of my father’s love. It was not a valuable piece of silver but it meant a lot to me.
Some years later I was having lunch with my sister in a restaurant in Brighton when my handbag was stolen. The handbag was lying at my feet under the table; the person at the next table must have pulled the strap of the bag and discreetly stolen it. I was so deep in conversation with my sister that I didn’t notice until I came to pay the bill. As usual with any theft the distressing part was the loss of personal items that were in the handbag, including the silver horseshoe from my father, and my feeling of guilt knowing that I had been careless. The tears were followed by all the palaver of informing the police, cancelling bank cards, and arranging some cash to tide me over. In a lovely gesture John went off to a jewellers in Brighton and bought me a silver horseshoe brooch – such a kind thought, but it was not the same as having my father’s special gift.
Months later I had a phonecall from the manager of T.K. Maxx in Brighton – not the usual contact I would expect to receive. He had found my dirty, battered handbag pushed under a hedge in Brighton and had contacted me from the details he found inside my bag. He was at pains to assure me that he had not disturbed the contents but he wondered if I would want the bag returned to me. As you can imagine, I was delighted and apprehensive about what would still be in the bag. My sister collected the bag for me and thanked him for his kindness in taking the trouble to contact me. When I got the bag back my silver horseshoe was still safely lodged in my purse; the thieves had just taken the cash and dumped the bag. You can imagine my delight – I felt that my guardian angel was watching over me!
When our daughter got married last year John bought her a small gold horseshoe in order to continue this family tradition. Let’s hope she takes better care of it than I did of mine!
In St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 13) he talks of the different kinds of love there are – kindness, patience, thankfulness, humility etc. My experiences with the theft of my handbag showed me a variety of types of love, from my father’s touching gift to John’s thoughtfulness and to the consideration of the man who found my bag. During this month of love I hope that you are touched by the joy of God’s love as reflected in our love for each other.