The day before Valentines Day in 1969, I went to Albertsons and got a box of Valentines cards. Our housekeeper Agnes took me. We had a housekeeper because my mother, who had multiple sclerosis, could not walk or cook or drive. When we got back, I set up the card table in our family room and filled out a card for everyone in my class. I was 11 years old. (By the way, I still have that card table. I inherited it after my parents died. It’s old and torn up, but I can’t seem to let it go.)
The next morning at school, however, I noticed that no one in my fifth grade class was giving out Valentine cards. My school bag was secretly full of them, but they never were to see the light of day. Somehow, I had missed the memo on Valentines cards. When the chance presented itself, I slipped into the boys bathroom across the hall and threw all my cards in the garbage can. That day, I believe, marked the official end of my childhood.
In retrospect, this experience is pretty funny and a little sad, but at the time, it was traumatic. That’s why I remember the details so clearly.
It’s been on my mind for several weeks, and as I’ve thought about it, I’ve wondered about the love and kindness that we all give out that seems to be discarded or falls to the ground unnoticed.
I am sure you can instantly think of experiences in your life when you have shown the tender part of yourself—perhaps in the form of romantic intentions—only to find your love unrequited, or worse, rejected and then strewn across your memory like shrapnel from a bomb. It is one of the unavoidable disasters of human life. Everyone seems to go through it, and most of us get over it to a degree. Some of us hold onto those sad feelings and they haunt us throughout our lives.
But we have promises from our Heavenly Father. Here is one that is very powerful:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.—Galatians 6:7
Doesn’t that mean that if you sow seeds of kindness and love that you will reap kindness and love again? But notice the analogy of planting and reaping. The harvest takes time. It doesn’t happen immediately. Seeds planted in the spring pass through two or three seasons before they are harvested. And for every seed you plant, you get 50 to 100 seeds back. That is the law of the harvest.
No wonder the Lord says:
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. —Matthew 7:12
If we will always reap what we sow, we would be wise to do to others what we would like done to us or for us.
Earlier in that same sermon, Jesus said something similar:
…With what measure ye mete [give out], it shall be measured to you again. —Matthew 7:2
My favorite promise of returned blessings is from the apostle Paul:
…Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord…. —Ephesians 6:8
The Lord’s promises are sure. Whatever good you do, whatever love you show, will come back to you, though the harvest will likely take a season or two to deliver its bounty.
All really good things take time. Fruit takes four or five months before it is ready to harvest. Babies still need nine months to be born. Romance may sprout in a few days, but may take many years to reap. Just wait in faith. God will not fail you. The end will be worth the waiting.
Those little Valentine cards will come back to me, though probably not in the same shape or form. I’ll take them in the form of hugs and kisses from my grandchildren. That will be payment enough for whatever sorrow lingers from February 14, 1969.