My dad, sister and I mined for gold in Dahlonega, Georgia when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I knew that gold existed, but in the middle of the dirt and mud, I couldn’t see it. When the gold would poke through the dirt we would jump up and down and revel in how beautiful and sparkly the pieces were, even when some were only “fool’s gold”. “Fool’s gold” is a slang term for Pyrite, a mineral that bears a striking resemblance to gold, but isn’t the real thing. My sister and I didn’t care that it wasn’t all “real gold”. The “fool’s gold” was the most beautiful thing in the dirt and muck and it was in our sifters. How incredible! What made it even more breathtaking was the sun shining and reflecting off the little jagged glints and pieces.
I believe love on this Earth between a man and a woman to be “fool’s gold”. After all, isn’t that what we are? Fools? We stumble around nearsighted and faithless, and then God shines His glory on us until we light up and sparkle. “Fool’s gold” isn’t real gold, but through similar traits, it gives us a glimpse of the real thing. Only God can give real love, the kind of love that never disappoints, knows no limits and surpasses all expectations (Romans 8:37-39). He gave this sacrifice of love, ultimately, through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
I’ve come to see the love men and women share that leads them to marriage in the same way, as a reflection of how Christ loves and gives Himself up for the church. During this Valentine’s Day season, Hollywood may try to show you what love looks like, but I can’t think of anything more romantic or selfless than to spend the rest of your life with someone. Mutual respect, healthy communication through conflict and having a shared life purpose is what we should be signing up for, not an idyllic scene that ends a love story before the real, good stuff even starts. This love between two fools, as they may be, is only a glimpse of the love Jesus has for us, but it is a beautiful taste.
I love love. It touches small, quiet places in my heart. I melt when I think about how my grandparents have faithfully taken care of each other for years, when I watch my dad hug and kiss my mom while she’s cooking in the kitchen, and when my friends light up as they tell their stories of “how he proposed”. Love is an exquisite, spectacular, and captivating mystery to me. I’ve come to appreciate mystery over the years, because if we sift and wait patiently, God allows little pieces of gold to poke through.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday for everyone, regardless of your relationship status. Elementary school kids in the U.S. buy cards and candy to give to all their classmates, groups of girlfriends have movie nights or go out to dinner and parents surprise their kids with chocolates or a sweet note. For some, Valentine’s Day can be a painful reminder of singleness, a bad break-up or past rejection, but I guarantee you there’s some “fool’s gold” in your sifter. This year, I encourage you to look for the relationships in your life you’re thankful for and express your appreciation to them. It can be easy to be bitter towards happy couples if you’re feeling lonely, but trust me, there’s nothing more healing than being grateful for the love you do experience and celebrating your friends’ relationships, even when you’re single.
As I’ve sifted through all the dirt of my own thoughts and struggles, God has given me a giant piece of gold to hold onto; an appreciation and adoration for love itself. God is love. And when we celebrate love, we celebrate Him.
Happy Valentine’s Day ☺