Valentine’s Day, like many other holidays can be difficult for some adopted children, or anyone who has had a great loss or trauma in their lives. There are many different ways to show love, understand love, perceive love and receive love. Sometimes people’s pain builds a thick brick wall around their hearts, making it more difficult to handle the concept of love. In many cases, the people that have vowed their love to them, are the same people who have hurt them. My African born son once told me that he does “not trust black people.” This was only a year or so after he arrived from Africa. Our Hispanic daughters balked at the idea of learning their native language; Spanish. The more excited I got about having a personal tutor, the more they refused to speak any of it.
Upon arriving with an enormous amount of pain and trauma, I have allowed each of our children to come to us in their own time, allowing them to first get to know us and then see that they can trust us. It’s the ‘stray cat approach.’
Unfortunately, we have seen the slightest thing ripple this trust and love for us even years later. Valentines Day was among the worst holidays when their hearts were not at peace. And worse yet, we do not always have the kind of friends and family who understand our children. Therefore, they have not pointed them back to us and our love for them.
To help our children know our love for them, I started a ‘Chocolate Bar Tradition.’ Each year, I buy a large package of Hershey Chocolate Bars and measure a blank piece of paper to match the Hershey label that wraps around the candy bar. I then write a personal love note to each person in my house. I do not keep it vague. I get deep into their hearts and minds. I want to grab them out of the muck and mire, reminding them of their purpose in life and the love we have for them. I then wrap it around the Hershey Bar face down so it remains a personal note, sealing it with tape. Each year, the kids are excited to find their chocolate bars either at the breakfast table or on their night stand as the wake up.
One year in particular, it completely changed our daughter’s heart. She was about 15 years old at the time and was so broken and confused and angry by the time Valentines Day came around, I thought I’d get the chocolate bar melted onto my pillow, but my letter was like a healing breeze to her soul. She needed it so badly. She cried in our bedroom doorway as she told us she loved us and needed us and did not want to ever get that deep into her confusion and anger again. (Well, she did…in college….and when people that knew better could have helped her out of it, they helped her dig deeper inside her brokenness and anger. But don’t worry, I pray for her and prayer breaks through the thickest walls. She won’t allow me to send her a Valentines Day message but that’s where God comes in. He breaks through walls.) My point is, sometimes we all need to just know that someone cares. We all tend to dig deep into our own self-pity, self-righteousness, self-absorbed fears, …… Sometimes, we need some help.
Love can look differently for people in pain. Pain and trauma can be dealt with and overcome but it takes a consistent and persistent drive. Our enemy knows exactly where to aim his daggers and what pushes our buttons and gets us sidetracked in life. Our prayer life needs to be as carefully aimed – directly at those areas he will attempt to break down and destroy. So does our love for one another.
Happy Valentine’s Day !
Make it a special day for someone !