Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Story of Passion and Purpose

February is traditionally the month of LOVE.

Valentines.  Roses.  Teddy Bears.  Chocolates.  Chunky Cherubs.  (Chunky because of the chocolates.)  Hearts.  Promises.  Love Songs and Longings.

Valentine's Day 1979 was when my mom first knew Frank was pursuing me in serious terms. Moms have a sixth sense that tells them things we don't know about ourselves.

My mother was especially gifted in this area!

She had driven down to visit me during Home-Coming week at my college.  She was such a good friend as well as a wonderful mom.  I had always been able to talk to her about absolutely anything.

We were walking toward my dorm from the parking lot when she asked, "What about this 'Frank' fella that you've been dating?  Is this getting serious?" 

"Oh, no," I assured her.  "We're just enjoying each other's company.  We have fun when we go out.  But it's really not all that serious at this point."

At that exact moment, we turned the hallway corner toward my room and stopped dead in our tracks.

My dorm room door was completely covered by a SIX FOOT TALL VALENTINE. 

A six foot roll of felt fabric hung from my doorframe and was covered from top to bottom with cupids and hearts of all sizes.  "BE MY VALENTINE" was stitched onto the fabric in red, 8" letters.  An adorable teddy bear sat jauntily in a heart pocket, center-stage.  On the floor in front of the monster greeting sat a bouquet of twelve long-stemmed roses and a giant heart box of chocolates.

I stood frozen; completely flabbergasted.  Speechless.

Mom stood beside me staring at the display and said, "Not that serious, huh?!"

Frank's roommate at the time returned some years ago and now serves as a professor at that same university.  In one of his lectures, he tells about the giant valentine that was literally the talk of the campus in 1979.

We often hear about it from various students who land at our church.  "Oh, YOU'RE the one who made the giant valentine that covered her door!!  Professor Crosby told us about you guys!  That was amazing!"

The topic of his lecture?  Passion and Purpose.

He tells the students that when Passion and Purpose combine in our lives,  the synergy created will help us overcome any obstacle - perceived or real.

He explains to the students (many of whom are also in the throes of searching for their life mate) that Frank felt he needed to work to win my heart.  He saw our relationship as a challenge requiring all his best efforts if he was to be successful in his quest.

Dr. Crosby recounts how Frank threw caution to the wind. Gathered materials.  Recruited help. Everyone from my best friend (who owned a sewing machine,) to the ladies at the local Hallmark store (who had the displays he needed.)

He put every resource, every penny, every creative skill at his disposal into making that valentine.  It mattered not how others would see him.  Embarrassment never entered his mind.  His reputation wasn't the focus, the object of his affection was all he could see.

He wasn't even able to be there to see my reaction because men weren't allowed into our dorm.  (Oh yeah, he had also convinced my proctor to help him tack the valentine to my door while no one was around.  Sandra was a romanticist at heart!)

Why go to such extremes if one isn't sure of the outcome?

Simply put, it was the combined effect of Passion and Purpose.

Here we are 38 years later.  Still pursuing each other.  Still knowing that although there are obstacles to the relationship we passionately want, we have to give it our best effort.   Because our purpose (a healthy marriage) is worth throwing caution to the wind.  Choosing to focus on one another, not on ourselves.

What is it in your life that you've identified as your purpose?  (Relationships?  Service?  A Project?)  Are you still passionate about that purpose?

If not, ask God to refresh your perspective.  Throw caution to the wind and get moving.  Recruit some help for pursuing what was, at one time, more important to you than your own reputation.

The outcome just may surprise you!

I'd love to hear about your favorite or most unusual Valentine.  Tell us in the comment section.


  1. One of my favorite stories ever! Love you :)

  2. Sheri love this story. 26 years ago I was office manager at our local landfill. My job was telling men where to go. LOL Friday the 13th before Valentine Day I received flowers at work. I asked every driver if they sent the flowers. "No". Finally the last driver of the day when asked he quickly changed the subject to a problem with his scale ticket. Then on his way out the door said, "better pay my bill at the florist". When I finally got it he was down the road. Valentine day Saturday was a blizzard and that evening I received a phone call, the guy's voice said, "nice night for a snowball fight." I replied, "meet you outside in 10 minutes." I got nailed with a snowball. We walked around town in the snow talking then back to my apartment for hot chocolate. Every year I get out the same vase from our first Valentine for flowers. Through the up & downs of married life it's been a wonderful life and I thank him for taking the chance and sending the flowers. To this day he won't admit he sent them. Karen

    1. Aww, Karen! What an absolutely Lovely Valentine story. I'd say your husband was one smart cookie. Thanks for sharing!