On Valentine’s Day, we pause to reflect on our relationships with others. I arrived home this evening to discover that a display case shelf in my kitchen had collapsed on top of one of my most treasured possessions: a biscuit my then-boyfriend had baked and brought to me in April of 1973. You might well inquire why I kept a biscuit so lovingly offered. The fact is, I do not like biscuits very much, or any white flour product, for that matter. However, I was moved at the thoughtfulness of that gesture. Not many girls have boyfriends who would even attempt making biscuits from scratch. Because I appreciated his kindness, I graciously accepted the proffered biscuits (yes, he actually brought me two) and thanked him profusely. It would be inappropriate to eat biscuits in an engineering class, so I claimed I would eat them later. (I am grateful that he and God forgave my lie.) Overcome by the sentimentality of the gift, I stored the plastic bag with the two biscuits in my makeup drawer, and there they remained for two months, until the university semester ended and I moved home for the summer. When I packed my things, I discovered the biscuits — one had crumbled beyond recognition, and the other lay in the drawer intact, completely free of mold after two months in room-temperature storage! I was so impressed, that I saved the biscuit.
Three years later, when we were married, I confessed my distaste for biscuits to my boyfriend-turned-husband and showed him the biscuit he had made, perfectly preserved. That same biscuit has been proudly displayed in our home ever since. Unfortunately, it has been forced to weather drastic climate changes and a few unfortunate mishaps. For the past decade, it has barely resembled its original form, as it has become rock-hard with crumbled, irregular edges.
All our children are aware of the history of the biscuit. When our eldest was ten, he tried his best to convince me to send it in to the Guinness Book of World Records to be certified as the oldest preserved biscuit on earth. Concerned for the welfare of said biscuit, I patently refused. That was twenty-three years ago.
You can imagine my consternation when I arrived home from out of town to find my precious biscuit in pieces under the collapsed shelf! Did I throw it away? Of course not! I patiently pieced it together, re-arranged and re-assembled the shelving, and put that four-decades-old biscuit back on display.
Somehow, the Holy Spirit is speaking to me of His love for me. No matter what bumps, bruises, or afflictions I weather, God’s love for me is always intact and perfectly faithful. My 40-year-old biscuit is no less precious to me now than it was when I was 18 and received it from the then (and now!) love-of-my-life. In fact, that little biscuit has become a symbol of everything we have weathered together, both joys and sorrows, and is even more valuable to me in its semi-crumbly state. Similarly, in my own brokenness, I bear the marks of various experiences in life, both joys and sorrows. God values and treasures me none the less for those bumps and bruises and has faithfully patched me up and put me back together over all those years. He has taught me much about His staying power in the face of trials and His care in the face of my failures.
Today, on Valentine’s Day, I praise Him for His goodness to me and for the very dear husband He gave me, who has given me infinitely more than a biscuit over the past four decades…