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Thursday, February 14, 2013

You Are Beloved

I imagine a woman on Valentine’s Day in 1964 giving birth to her sixth child with the sudden realization that it was a girl.  This was more than she could handle after having five boys.  She was confused, she was worried and postpartum depression set in and it was strong.  She gave birth to a little girl and in the midst of confusion, chaos and depression she gave her a name that means “beloved”.

When I was a little girl I thought that the name Amy was a little girl’s name.  I couldn’t imagine growing up with that name.  It bothered me so much that I cried to my dad explaining that I would be made fun of with this name.  It was some time later that we were sitting outside, as we often did in our little rural town, and we watched a woman ride by on her horse.  My dad said, “Do you see that grown-up woman? Her name is Amy”.  My dad knew two things about me; I loved horses and I was still scared about growing up with this name.  Was he telling the truth that day?  I don’t know because I hadn’t seen that woman before that day and I don’t know that we ever met.  All I know is that suddenly I was ok with my name. 

Beloved; my mom and dad gave me a name that means beloved.  There have been variations of this simple name over the years.  If someone refers to me as Amo, then I know it’s a friend from Iowa who has known me a long, long time.  If I hear someone say Amy Lynn, it is most likely my favorite, and yes kids my only, husband.  No matter how it’s said, I know that I am loved.

Today is my birthday and it is also Valentine’s day.  I had a co-worker who once referred to this day as “single’s awareness day”.  He may have been joking but I heard disappointment in his voice as he proclaimed it.  He was single and was feeling the sting of not having a “sweetheart” on this day.  I remember the years between marriages when all of my friends at work would get flowers on this day from their spouses and I would go year after year with no flowers on this day that was not only a “lover’s holiday” but it was my birthday.  Each year I would find a way to laugh it off during the day and then would go home at night and cry.  I could never find a lunch or dinner partner on my birthday because everyone was out with their special someone on that day.  I hated my birthday, I hated Valentine’s Day because it is a “couple’s day”.  There was a couple in my life, however, who knew that this was a hard day for me and would invite me over to their house for dinner and cake.  Paul and Kathy had both been single for a long time before they met and they knew the sting of holidays like this for people like me.  They always made sure they included their single friends in their parties and while I was with them I didn’t feel “single”.  I felt beloved.  I felt like it didn’t matter who I was married to, it mattered simply that I was loved. 

Today I am again married and I enjoy my life with Mike.  The way he says Amy Lynn makes my little heart melt.  Often I will say to him, I wish that all of my friends could know the love of another human the way that I now know love.  I’m not talking about a romantic love.  I simply wish that everyone could know that they are loved.

Whatever your name is and whatever the circumstance, you are beloved this day and if nobody else tells you that today, I hope that you can at least imagine that someone in Kansas cares and sincerely wants you to feel loved this day.

My challenge for all of my friends is that you would reach out to someone today who may feel less than loved and tell them they are beloved. 

Happy Valentine’s Day with love,

Amy Lynn Michael

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