Today is Valentine's Day—a day about love and hearts and holding hands.
Years ago when I went on a weekend trip with girlfriends, my husband texted me on Sunday morning from church, "No hand to hold."
During prayer we hold hands. We have for almost 40 years. At home, in church, on walks, at the table. So when he was in church that morning and there was a prayer, he reached for my hand but it was miles away.
"Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20 NIV).
Holding hands during prayer makes us feel closer to God and each other. We are going to Him in agreement, we are gathered with Him, a solid unit of three—"a triple-braided cord is not easily broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT). It strengthens our prayer and connects us in a way that nothing else does.
This year, I am incredibly thankful that I have his hand to hold. It was a close call with his recent aorta tear. But he is here. We have this day. His hand holds mine when we pray for food, our kids, our health, and to give abundant thanks for underserved blessings.
It also keeps us from gesturing inappropriately.
These days we are praying a lot for his aorta to heal. People wonder how Jeff tore is aorta. Could he have done anything to prevent it? Did he have pre-existing issues? The best answer I have is that his love for me is so strong, it burst from his heart and ripped his aorta.
Why can't that be the answer?
He did not have pre-existing conditions. He could not have prevented it. It was a freak thing, possibly genetic. The only indicator he had was his age. Men 50-70 make up the vast majority of these cases. Nothing he can do about that, try as he might. And if we ever believed the fairytale that we aren't that old, the medical team squashed that idea very quickly: "This happens a lot to older men." Thanks.
While we wait to see what the next CT scan reveals about his healing, I am thankful for his healthy heart, his unconditional love, and his hand that is always reaching for mine. That is what Valentine's Day is all about.
That and chocolate!