My Funny Valentine

Yesterday was a day for writing love letters, which was convenient, since today is Valentine’s Day. But I don’t mean I was writing obligatory cards. Rather, my heart was just full – full of love and gratitude for a bunch of people in my life. Some of them probably expected to get a card from me, but I imagine at least a half dozen didn’t. I hadn’t written to them before and I don’t know if I will again, but this year, for some reason, I just thought, “I Love them,” so I went ahead and did it.

I think it’s because of the big Love I’m feeling these days for my youngest daughter Molly Grace. In about a week’s time, she will be having surgery to treat scoliosis with a procedure called “spinal tethering.” It’s a couple days in the hospital, followed by a couple weeks at home, followed by a couple months in a back brace. Though it was a difficult decision, we are confident it’s the right plan and that we have the right doctor. Still, as the date approaches, a low-grade anxiety is permeating our home. And when that happens, whenever Fear appears, I try to double down on Love.

Which is why I am so grateful I encountered this yesterday in the center of a book on my nightstand:

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I don’t remember where I got the card, but I’m glad I kept it. It surfaces every once in a while, seemingly just when I need to be reminded of the Love I need to give or receive myself. In this case, it’s both. I need to help Molly feel ultimately protected, and safe “in the hollow” of my arms, but I also need to trust that I am being held in the same way. We cannot offer to others what we do not have ourselves. So each morning, as I sit in Centering Prayer, I return my attention over and over again to Love, the ultimate source of my existence. I get up knowing that it is the ultimate action I can take, however it manifests itself that day.

It’s pretty easy to know how to Love on Valentine’s Day, a card, a heart, a bunch of flowers, but on other days, those answers aren’t so clear. How can we act in Love when we’re afraid of (and for) the people we encounter, the decisions we make and outcomes that are beyond our control? But today and every day, I try to come back to this:

Fear does not get to have the final word.

Next week, when I watch my girl go into surgery, I know I will be afraid. Fear will be sitting in the waiting room with me, making small talk with Tim and pacing the halls. But I also know we offered ourselves the antidote to that fear when we named her fifteen years ago: Molly Grace.

Grace.

Outpouring Love. Undeserved forgiveness. Divine presence and strength. Inner beauty.

Love stronger than Fear.

Today, Love in a way that is easy and light, but tomorrow, try to Love into a place that has been dominated by fear. You don’t know where it will take you, but I promise it will be better than where you are.

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Molly Grace and I at her final water polo game last week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “My Funny Valentine

  1. Holding the highest, brightest, safest space for all of you. Breathe in the love and the light of everyone who adores the Kirks! ❤ the peelemans

  2. Lovely post Ali- I have never seen that quote (prayer) from Our Lady of Guadalupe….how very appropriate. Thank you for sharing it…Your Mom and Dad will be there with your family praying and believing in great outcomes for Molly!

  3. I am praying for you…
    O Lord,
    Be so close beside our dear Molly and family. Come whisper words of great hope into their hearts. Shut out the pain, the worry and fear and wrap them up within your soft, gentle love.
    Bless the efforts of the surgeons who are working to bring healing to her body. Please protect and keep her in your rest and care. May they know your presence close by each day.

  4. Allison and Molly: How curious. I give out that same Holy Card every 12 of December. More curious I will be in Mexico City from Sunday through Thursday. We will be celebrating Mass two days at the Basilica of Our Lady. Now I now what to place in the hueco (cradle) of her arms, Molly! Peace, padre

    • That is such a great “coincidence” Padre Bill, one that is sure no coincidence at all. Who knows? I may have even gotten the card from you so many years ago that I’ve forgotten. I will hold this image and prayer in my heart on 2/22, knowing that you are holding us too with La Virgen, the ultimate mother!

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