Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Good Excuse to Love Bigger



I don't remember when I became a Valentine's day fanatic, but I'm guessing it happened well outside the scope of age-acceptability. I'm sure the roots are tangled up somewhere in the naked, improbable hopefulness of my teenage years, when my best friend Sarah and I, doomed to schools in different counties, would write notes to each other on notebook paper in which we talked almost exclusively about our unrequited crushes. Against all reason, we hoped. Romantics to the core.

I secretly like the idea of invisible cupids taking aim on unsuspecting fools who, shot through the heart, turn the tables on classic rock and give love a good name.

I also like Galentine's day. There. I said it.
It's dopey and cheesy. I don't care. Valentine's day does not just exist for the coupled. It exists for any human who needs a reason to throw some puffy-heart pink around and love with extra intention. It's love, and love is for everyone.

So, I've done my due diligence. I brought out all the pink. I hung romantic plates on my wall. (As one does.) I've hatched plans to surprise my closest loves in some weird ways. I even have a plan for dealing with any Valentine's related angst, such as eye rolling, unexplained surliness, and general crankiness. (Hint: it involves believing with my whole heart that they actually love every second of it, despite obvious evidence. It's not denial if it's truuuue!!!!)


Valentine's day is a real, bonafide "you do you" situation. It's okay if you don't geek out over it like some of us. Honestly, it's okay if you're the one rolling your eyes.

But what if we all decided to take the excuse to love bigger and run with it?

What if we reframed February 14th as a strange Thanksgiving/Christmas love-child, where we gather up the love we're given and fling some of it back out into the world? (Heart-shaped glitter optional.)

Two years ago, I spent part of February in Ecuador with Calvin Lee and now, the two are tied up together somewhere on the February calendar of my heart. February is chocolate truffles and it's bearing witness to poverty through the eyes of my ten-year old son. It's grocery store sushi and it's the one-room, tin-roofed home with a romantic, flowered curtain for a door. It's whimsy and silliness, but it's also the triumph of hope. It's resilience.

It's my son, piecing together the puzzle that he was born across the ocean, but lives in Indiana. He was first loved, held, and named by a woman he might never meet, but he also has a new mom who won't ever stop loving him, holding him, and calling him hers. It's loss. And it's love.

This year, it's Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday, and there's room in my heart for all of it. To me, it makes perfect sense.

I've been working with Compassion International on a way for us to come together as a community and fling some love around. I do believe today is our moment.

The Martin fam has sponsored children (which is to say, families) through Compassion for over a decade now, and we'll never quit. It works. It matters. But today, it all goes a layer deeper. If you click here you'll find a page set up just for us, filled with kids waiting to be sponsored. Every one of the kiddos on our page is an orphan, having lost one or both parents.

Child sponsorship is a lifeline that helps hold vulnerable kids steady, and these are the most vulnerable. These kids need hope more than ever. We have seen it for ourselves. One of the happiest days for a child is the day they are sponsored. They have lost some things, yes. But they are loved, called by name, chosen.

What would it look like if we, as a team, scooped up the entire page?

Mexico. Ghana. Indonesia. Uganda. Ethiopia.
The list goes on and on.

From the looks of it, they are all boys, in desperate need for a shot of hope and love across the sea.

 

We don't need an excuse to care for orphans as we care for ourselves and our "own".
But today, we have one anyway.

Click here to consider becoming a vital part of the life of one of these boys.

Happy ThanksChristTines Day.

We are dust and to dust we'll return.
We are loved and we give love away.

Ever Yours,
Shannan


* Click here to see more of our time in Ecuador. 

** I am a long-haul, devoted partner with Compassion. This means that in addition to over a decade of sponsorship and joining one of their blogger trips, I am also compensated as part of a focused partnership to help spread the word and gain sponsorship for more kiddos. It is with gladness that I share my platform, as I have always done, with this message that beats so strongly within my own heart.


10 comments:

  1. YES and YAY for Compassion! 4 years ago we were in Burkina Faso and Ghana meeting 2 of our kiddos! May these get scooped up!!!!

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  2. We've got 5 kids through Compassion and a few through Gospel for Asia. Would love to some day take one of the sponsor trips :)

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