WARNING: If you are familiar with my blog posts, you know I typically gush about my fellow Fellows for about 500 words. This post is no different. If you don’t want to hear how great Charlie, Jill, Emily, Andy, Sara, Ali, Mary, and Lauren are, you should shut your laptop or continue playing Candy Crush. If you do, read on. 

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Some hate it; some love it. Me? I suppose I’m a bit indifferent. That’s a lie. I resent cheesy Hallmark commercials, the movie Valentine’s Day, and all the chocolate weight I try to lose during March. To be quite frank, I’ve never really liked Valentine’s Day. Until today. 

All of my Valentine’s up until today have been filled with (mostly) singleness, watching couples be happy, and lots and lots of chocolate and some wine. Today, it was different. Okay, chocolate and wine were consumed. 

But this morning, I got on the St. George’s bus with my fellow Fellows to go to a Fellows' event and was given a piece of paper. On this piece of paper were eight paragraphs from my fellow Fellows (say that five times fast?). 

About a week ago, our sweet, sweet Fellow, Andy Moore, sent a group email asking if we’d all send him tidbits about each other for him to compile a list to send to our director so she (and our super duper Fellow Sara) could put them together. 

This is what I received this morning. Eight paragraphs of affirmation, truth, and love from eight people I am wild about. Eight different angles of me that I often fail to see. It hit me that love isn’t always feeling happy with a person. It isn’t this comforting bliss you feel around a person whenever you’re with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love these people, (if only y’all had a dollar for every time I said that) but our relationships are far from perfect. 

We snap, we bend, we break, we figure it out. What makes our bond one of love is that we truly know one another. I’ve never felt more loved, accepted, and fully known by one group of people. The things that were written about me not only made me feel incredibly loved, valued, and affirmed, but they made me realize this group of people sees my strengths. Even when I don’t. 

And that - that is love. Love is looking at someone and saying, “You are enough. Even when you don’t think you are, I see your strength, and I hold it in high regard. I love you.” I was told that eight times over today, and I couldn’t be happier—despite the (happy) tears currently streaming down my face. 

I’m in love with these people. I strive to tell them why they are affirmed and loved every day. I yearn to do this because Jesus did it for me. He looked at sinners, prostitutes, and tax-collectors and said, “Hey, here’s why you're strong. Here’s how you can grow my Kingdom.”

So, Charlie, Jill, Emily, Andy, Sara, Ali, Mary, Lauren, and Mama T. I love you guys. A whole lot. More than wine and chocolate. <3