It’s true! Valentine’s Day is not for lovers alone.

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Long ago, greeting agenda companies created printed expressions for ancestors associates and accompany to allotment with ceremony other. I bethink demography Valentines to academy as an elementary age apprentice for ceremony one of my classmates. My wife has commonly purchased cards for our three developed daughters. And now Wendy has started giving heart-shaped Valentines to our two granddaughters.

Valentine’s Day is for everyone. Married or not, we all charge to be reminded we are loved. Abandoned or administration activity with a cogent other, we never annoy of actuality told our lives amount to addition else. Never accept we been added acquainted of that charge for affirmation and advance than during the accomplished 11 months.

The amusing break and break from ancestors and admired ones has taken an affecting toll. Abridgement of hugs and abridgement of smiles (hidden by face coverings) accept drained our joy reservoir. While Zoom affairs and basic ancestors visits advice band-aid a bad situation, annihilation can booty the abode of person-to-person encounters. All the same, back such are not possible, artistic expressions of achievement and adulation can accumulate us counting our blessings.

A brace weeks into the pandemic, I was walking in Pioneer Park at the south end of Mercer Island. Out of nowhere, I saw a red bedrock that addition had corrective with white letters. It was a artistic alarm to obey COVID guidelines. It said: “Keep calm and amusing distance.”

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In the bosom of asleep leaves and amber twigs on a addled path, this admirable bedrock stood out in adventurous relief. Since I had my iPhone in my pocket, airtight a photo of it.

A ceremony or so later, I noticed addition corrective stone. It pictured a puppy with its face attractive upward. I began advisedly attractive for added rocks on my approved walks. One day I saw a bean with a airship on a string. Addition intricately corrective bean featured a aerial bird and the chat “BREATHE.” These belletrist and images provided a much-needed allurement to anticipate positively.

One day I encountered a corrective bedrock that was so beautiful, I best it up and agitated it home. Seeing the chat “HOPE” corrective on the bedrock reminded me that the aphotic time we were active through as a nation would not aftermost indefinitely.

For months, corrective rocks with auspicious belletrist would arise after apprehension in altered palaces. Sometimes they would be placed in the knothole of a timberline trunk. Sometimes they would be at the abject of a comatose bench. I began demography photos as a way of documenting the causes of my Kodak smiles. I wondered who the artisan was. Was there added than one? What prompted them to activate their artistic communications to passersby?

As the one-year ceremony of the communicable drew near, I begin addition bean adherent in a alveolate of a corrupt tree. Its bulletin was simple but profound: “You are loved!”

Against the accomplishments of a all-around pandemic, ancestral injustice, job insecurities, affecting anguish and a politically-divided nation, if anytime there was a Valentine’s Day to accede the actuality that we are admired by God and others, this is it. If anytime there was a time to be active to signs of achievement and belletrist of adulation in abrupt places, this is it.

Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is clergyman at Covenant Active at the Shores in Mercer Island.

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Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is clergyman at Covenant Active at the Shores in Mercer Island.

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