Home love A confession.

A confession.

February 14, 2013
(Hi, Ashleigh. Yes. I was talking about you.)

So, as sarcastic and as spastic I am… it still drives me crazy when people hate on Valentine’s Day. Yes, I get that forever-alone jokes are kind of hilarious, and yes, I get that there is a whole lot of consumerism and commercialism you could get caught up in and hate on… but also. How can you honestly hate an entire day devoted to love and the expression of love?

Let’s talk about this, people.
What is it you don’t like about Valentine’s Day? That it makes you feel lonely? That you feel less special when someone else is recognized? That you feel painfully aware of your lack of boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/significant other?
Cool. Cause I spent 14 years of my life feeling the exact same way.
My favorite Valentine’s Day was in the ninth grade.  Ninth grade was rough. If junior high wasn’t at least a little emotionally traumatizing for you… let me know. I’m going to mail you a medal. In ninth grade, I was feeling a little insecure and a lot friendless. Luckily for me, I had seminary with some lovely boys (and you think I’m being sarcastic, but stay tuned) who thought it’d be great to daily give me crap about how no one would ever like me, how I’d get nothing on Valentine’s Day, etc. And they just wouldn’t let it GO. Now-a-days, I probably could deal out some sassy come-backs and have ended that before it began. But I was a tender little guy. I sat there and I just took it. And at the time, it felt like the end of the world. I was DREADING Valentine’s Day. Maybe I had plans to fake sick. Maybe I had plans to sluff. You know how it is. Words have incredible power. And the words they were throwing at me, sucked.
So there I am, sitting in my seminary class one day in February, trying to tune out the sound of these boys… And I find myself looking around. All the sudden realizing, if I feel like this – if I feel lonely, insecure, unacknowledged – how many more people feel like this or feel even worse, because no one bothers to talk to them at all – to tease them OR to be kind? That day after class, I asked my teacher for a copy of the class roll. He gave me a look like, “whatchoo talkin’ ’bout WILLIS” but handed it over.
I spent the next two days writing love letters to everyone in that class. Not only was I filled with a happiness I hadn’t yet experienced, I became so aware of how wonderful everyone around me really was. As I really and truly thought about each person in that class, about the things I’d observed about them, it honestly became hard to keep it to a page. And the punk boys who nearly ruined my ninth grade year? Their letters were the longest. Because, how sad and insecure do you have to be to spend an entire month making fun of a girl you barely know? The more I wrote, the more I saw their potential to be great, great men. I felt overwhelming love for these nearly-strangers all around me, and all kinds of regret for not paying more attention to their unique light sooner.
Valentine’s Day, I was incredibly nervous to deliver these letters. NO ONE WANTS TO BE THE CREEPY GIRL WHO WROTE 32 LOVE LETTERS IN JUNIOR HIGH. But I was. And I did. I walked into class, questioning the entire time whether I’d really have the gumption to deliver the letters, and saw yellow flowers on the table. For me. It was the most incredible tender mercy. Also, they were from my sisters and all their male friends. High school and college male-friends. Imagine the way my little heart leapt at THAT. And holler at them for understanding the true purpose of Valentine’s Day and making a 14-year-old-girl’s year. That small, thoughtful, out-of-their-way-but-not-earth-shattering act, changed my entire perspective. By small and simple things, my friends. My class arrived, and by the end of the hour, I’d worked up the courage to pass out cookies and the letters to each of my classmates.
The entire rest of the day, I would catch people re-reading their letters or even just smiling to themselves or at me. There was so much love. It was like the WHOLE DANG WORLD was my Valentine, guys. Those punk boys became some of my favorite homies, and out of that class, came one of my very, very best friends – a quiet girl in the back who had an endless supply of Listerine Strips and the world’s best sense of humor.
That day, I fell in love. Not with any one person, but with Valentine’s Day.
I fell in love with thoughtfully observing those around me, and learning from their unspoken lessons. I fell in love with telling people how much they are, how much they have to offer, how much they mean to me. I fell in love with a day devoted entirely to showing people that love.
There are all kinds of love in this world. Sibling love, friend love, you-drive-my-bus-and-say-good-morning-every-morning-love, classmate love, parent love, romantic love. Every kind of love is just as good. And whoever you are, wherever you are, you have some form of it in your life. Promise. And it is not pathetic. It is worth celebrating.
And if you’re feeling lonely this year, if you’re feeling lost, chances are, so is someone else. Find them! Spread the love.
Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year. And whether you have to make it Galentines Day, Palentine’s Day, or just a regular I-love-the-things-in-my-life day, I’d love to celebrate together.
Thank you with all my heart for being in my life, to whatever capacity you are. Even if we are blog-friends in online love, and have never even met. I appreciate you. I LOVE you! Gash. Cuties.

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16 comments

Ashleigh February 14, 2013 at 2:49 am

hi. i can see your face on skype. RIGHT NOW. love you. so much. SO SO SO MUCH.

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Amylee February 14, 2013 at 3:17 am

You are wise beyond years. Marry someone in my family? Please? Thanks for being so wonderful. I love YOU.

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Kira Johnson February 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

There are many reasons why I love you. The fact that you wrote this post, and that you wrote all those notes to your seminary class are just two of the reasons why I love you. Thank you for being so good at showing your love. I cannot even express how much I appreciate you sharing your love, Shelby. Goooooooooodness. I LOOOOOVE YOU.

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Andra February 14, 2013 at 3:46 am

Once upon a time you altered my life. I shall call tomorrow "Shelbentine's Day." Just cuz.

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micaille February 14, 2013 at 3:57 am

Don't be weirded out at this. You probably know, what with all the comments on every single post you write, BUT. You're great. And it's not just the posts I love about you. I also see little things in people (some call it creeping; I call it observing). In high school, I saw so many of those amazing little things in you. And now knowing the thoughts behind them make me think so much more highly of you. Shelby, you are a fantastic human. Thanks for being such a good person.

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McCall Simmons February 14, 2013 at 4:15 am

Thank you so much for sharing this, Shelb. You inspire me to love tomorrow…and not just pretend it's another day. I'm so thankful for your example in my life. I love you. 🙂

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Anonymous February 14, 2013 at 4:18 am

Shelby… this might sound suuper creepy but I read your blog all the time… and I just want you to know you are truly special. The light of CHrist radiates from you and evwryone can see it! I enjoy your words!

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jenn February 14, 2013 at 4:54 am

I love you. You are one amazing lady. Thanks for sharing that sweet experience!

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Rachel Nell February 14, 2013 at 4:58 am

Please be my valentine.

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Lynette February 14, 2013 at 5:42 am

Shelby, Loving has always been your best talent – from the very beginning. I remember that time in your life and how my heart ached for you every day. That you can come through that period with an even greater capacity to love is exemplary. I am so grateful Heavenly Father sent you to me. You have taught me so much about seeing the good and letting go of the bad. I love you dearly!
XOXO, Mom
P.S. It's okay that you hold my hand wherever we go! 🙂

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Tori B February 14, 2013 at 6:05 am

Oh, Shelby-girl. You have always had such a brave heart. I am glad that you are sharing it with the world via this lovely blog. 🙂

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Kimberly Larson February 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm

You're amazing. Thank you for this.

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shayla. February 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

haha i love this it's too true 🙂

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Tinker Bell February 15, 2013 at 12:22 am

great post, greattt.. happy v-day <3

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Dani February 15, 2013 at 6:11 am

Obsessed. This is perfect.

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Melissa February 19, 2013 at 12:29 am

Hi Shelby. This is Melissa, McCall's big sis. She had a link to this post on her blog, and I just loved it! So tender! Oh and congrats on your mission call–sister missionaries are the best 🙂

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