I had an off-and-on again crush on Ben during most of high school. He, in turn, had an "always on" crush on my best friend.
The odds were not in my favor.
However, he did become one of my good friends. One of my favorite Ben stories concerns our Spanish class field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago in which we convinced everyone that 2 college guys had hit on me. Ben went as far as scrawling fake names and phone numbers on my class handout- our proof. We could have kept that joke going for quite awhile!
My other favorite Ben story is about Valentine's Day, in a way.
Junior year, my dislike of Valentine's Day fully formed, I had to work at the pharmacy the day of the holiday. I wasn't dating anyone so it's not like I had other plans. It started to snow and my boss decided to close early so we could get home safely. I called my Mom so she could pick me up. When I left, the pharmacist and a couple of others were still there, finishing out closing duties.
A couple of nights later my youth group held an event, which Ben came to. At some point, he asked me if I hasn't gone to work on Valentine's Day. This was strange because Ben did not frequent the pharmacy to my knowledge. I explained that we had closed early, not understanding his question.
He told me he'd stop by to give me a flower. He'd taken his girlfriend out for a Valentine's Day dinner. He bought her a bouquet and, knowing I was bummed about the holiday, bought me a flower as well. He'd wanted to surprise me at work before he went on his date but then couldn't find me there. We figured out that he'd arrived shortly after my Mom had picked me up and just before the pharmacy closed.
I was so touched by his thoughtfulness. I'd never been given flowers by anyone other than my Dad at that point. Honestly, if Ben hadn't had a girlfriend, I would have fallen back headlong into my crush.
Even though I never did get that flower from him, the knowledge of his kindness went a long way.
It didn't make me like Valentine's Day any more but it did help me dislike it a little less. Ben's flower wasn't a romantic gesture but a sign of our steady friendship. And, after all, isn't this holiday about all the ways we experience love?
I collect stories of the ways people have shown their love for me throughout the years. The story of my almost Valentine is a definite keeper.
This Valentine's Day I'm celebrating all the love in my life. I pray you are celebrating all the love in your life as well.
(Don't forget, there's still time to support the work of Love146! As I signed my Valentines the other day and prepared them for mailing, my heart was light in the redeeming.)
What's the best Valentine's Day you've ever had? I'd like to live vicariously today!