Valentine's Day, Ash Wednesday, Love and Death

Today is Valentine's Day.

Today is also Ash Wednesday.

Today I got to meet with my book publisher, editor and a group of marketing and editorial staff at Fortress Press. It was so exciting to share our enthusiasm for #RedStateChristians, and to talk about what God might have in store for the future.

Today I made breakfast tortillas with cutout hearts and red salsa decorations.

Today my younger son romped through mommy and me gymnastics, and he couldn't have been happier.

Today my older son celebrated Valentine's Day with his Pre-K class, and everyone gave each other Valentines, and they were all happy and no one felt left out.

Today my dad watched my boys while I went to the publisher's office, and he and the boys made a backyard snowman, complete with stocking cap hat, carrot nose, and long, winding scarf.

Today I ran into a friend of mine downtown, and we spent time together walking and talking in the skyway, and I enjoyed the unexpected blessings of long-lasting friendship - sharing now the joys not only of each other but of being moms and wives as well.

Today I walked through the skyway to my husband's office, and we walked together and shared the even unspoken communion of deep, rich and unbreakable love.

Today I knew I was loved.


Today I was nervous about becoming an author.

Today my boys didn't want to eat my heart-shaped breakfast tortillas, so I ate them alone.

Today my younger son cried on the way to gymnastics, because we didn't bring "blankie."

Today my older son joyfully shared his candy with his younger brother, who proceeded to make sticky fingerprints all over our brand new table, then crash his metal truck into the tables' legs.

Today my dad made a snowman with my kids, and he used my nice scarf to wrap around the dirty snow, and stretched my tight-fitting stocking cap over the snowman's dirty head.

Today my friend and I shared the heartbreaking challenges of difficult choices: of career and kids and finding yourself in it all.

Today my sweet husband ordered me special Valentine's flowers, which arrived dead and spilled mud and spongey clay all over the floor.


Today a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School outside Fort Lauderdale, Fla., entered his school and started shooting. The carnage has yet to be totaled, but at least two people are dead, and 14 have been taken to a local hospital to treat their injuries. The shooter is in custody.


That last one. It's jarring. Nearly unspeakable in its horror and its ever-increasing repetition. Another shooting. Another place no longer safe. More parents frightened, seeking their children. More students in tears, heads down - Valentine parties and cards long forgotten.


It was Valentine's Day.

It was Ash Wednesday.

My day is banal is in its ordinariness; even its difficulties laughable in the face of such tragedy. The love and security that surrounds me can never be taken for granted, except when I do take it for granted every single day.

In a few hours I will go to church, and I wear a cross upon my head: a cross made of ash that reminds me that the God who loves me also died for me, and that there is no place God won't go - not even death - to reconcile with the one God loves: that is, me, and you.

In this place, on this day between love and death and ordinary life - I choose to mark myself with a heart for love and a cross for death, knowing that the union of both, for the defeat of one, is the only source for hope in our all-too-fragile, broken, and tender world.


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