If we are lucky, a special valentine comes along.
Cupid flings an arrow and we become smitten as never before.
But there are other kinds of valentines that touch our lives. Maybe they don't cause the heart to pound, but they radiate pure love just the same.
There have been several valentines who entered my life and left a positive influence.
When I was a young girl, there was Aunt Stella, who has long since departed this life.
But as a timid girl with low esteem, I needed someone to offer encouragement, praise, and Aunt Stella did that.
She would give compliments and kind words, or a hug, just when I needed them most.
There was my mama who protected her children like a mother hen who gathers and tucks her chicks under her wings when the rains come or danger threatens.
Mama's children were her pride, her valentines.
Then there was Sister Keeton, a minister who taught me values, morals, in my formative teenage years. Sunday afternoon singing conventions, church socials, Christmas plays about the birth of the Christ Child, biblical teachings, love...Those were activities and teachings of a godly woman who took an interest in the young people at her church.
I have to mention another valentine, my husband Bill.
He was my first love when I was just 15 years old. We were an unlikely pair, as different as May and December.
I was reserved, prim, religious. He was exuberant, handsome, outgoing...But he was my valentine. And I, his, until one cold February night when his teddy bear heart was stilled forever.
There were lifetime military friends too; special valentines who shared happy times, sadness, heartache, and fears during wartime when we wondered what the future might bring. Those military wives who spent time listening, consoling, laughing in the wee hours of morning too...
Much later, there was the unlikely valentine who used his surgical expertise and knowledge to save my life when there was not much hope.
And there was a special valentine friend who nursed me to health, when that devastating illness threatened to shorten my days. She took me into her home, cooked for me, was my caregiver for several months, encouraging me to get up, gain my strength when I had none.
"You can't believe statistics," she said. "They are just numbers."
She made me smile when I thought all smiles were gone. It was a slow grueling journey, but with the help of this friend and immediate family members who became my rescuers, I made it. Church members showed their love by bringing food to my door week after week when I had no strength to cook. And, they prayed.
My children, valentines each, have given me so much pleasure. Not a day goes by that I don't think of them. Without my two children, my life would be empty. My days are enriched by having them in my life.
So, if you have a beloved valentine, it's time to acknowledge by sending a card, flowers, a box of chocolates or cologne.
Or a big warm hug might do.
There are valentines all around.