Gail's Book Nook

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Looking Out the Window: A Special Valentine's Day Devotional by Inspirational Writer Jennifer Slattery


One day, while cleaning out our closet, I found a shoe box tucked behind a bunch of clutter on my husband’s side. Curiosity bid me, and I pulled it down and sifted through the items. There were rusted railroad nails, an antique pocket watch attached to a chain, old baseball game stubs and numerous other creased, rusted, or slightly tarnished items. My heart was touched to see the softer side of my husband displayed in the saving of each item. I’m certain every stub and nail told a story, perhaps of the first game he attended alone or the watch given to him by his grandfather who has since passed. But what touched me most were the numerous slips of paper and cards I found buried beneath it all, my young, immature writing scrawled across them.

I had to giggle at my immaturity. I love you, heart, heart, dot the exclamation point with a large heart. Those letters had touched my husband deeply, so much so that he had saved them all these years. I paused, remembering the first written love letter he wrote me. He’s not much of a talker, and even less of a writer. My daughter and I often laugh at how sparse his words are. He’s notorious for the one word email. Or, the blank email, with everything I need to know written in the subject heading. It’s not that he’s uncaring, he’s just not a writer.

But on this day, he was Casanova with a pen. It was our first marriage retreat. We went to the retreat with scarred, yet healing hearts, and a bit of baggage. One of the first assignments we were given was to write a love letter to our spouses.

My husband and I found a quiet corner in a far back hotel hallway and set to writing what was in our hearts. We wouldn’t write about what was bothering us. It wasn’t time to resolve past hurts. It was time to love, and to tell each other what we cherished most about one another and our marriage.

Honestly, I was expecting a two, maybe three sentence letter: I love you. I’m glad I married you. Love Steve. From the corner of my eye, I watched my husband hunched over his paper, pen in hand. He wrote, and wrote and wrote. I write fast, so I finished and set mine aside. He continued to write. If only I had saved that first letter. I have no idea where it went, but it touched me so deeply, tears poured from my eyes as I read it.

There is nothing like reading, in a letter or card, how much someone loves you. I’m not sure why, but seeing it on paper deepens the sentiment somehow. Never underestimate the power of a written “I love you.” It has the power to heal, to soothe, to defuse and to unite.

(Proverbs 15:1, NIV) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the day to day, we forget to tell our spouses how much we love them. Often, we forget to think about our love for them. I’ve said before, if you dwell on the negative, you’ll find it every time. But, if you seek out the lovely, good and pure, you’ll find it’s been there all along.


Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, freelance writer, and biblical studies major at Calvary Bible College. In 2009 she won the HACWN writing contest in the book category, and was just recently acknowledged as the second place winner of the 2010 Dixie Kane writing contest in the inspirational category and placed fourth in the 2010 Golden Pen. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, reviews for Novel Reviews and has written articles, devotions and devotional stories for numerous other publications. She is also the marketing representative for the literary website, Clash of the Titles.


Elaine Cooper said...

That is such a tear-inducing story Jen. It really touches my heart, the way your husband wrote and wrote. Love poured out onto paper—so precious!

Anonymous said...

Elaine, the reminder brought tears to my eyes! And thanks! Husbands can be such precious gifts! :-)

Miss Mae said...

Oh, I loved this! What a wonderful tribute to your husband. Imagine the depths of emotions he lived as he penned that letter. This is your memory that will live in eternity. :)

Leigh said...

What a lovely story! You're so right about the power of seeing those kinds of emotions written down instead of just spoken. Maybe that's partly because it's easy to let time fade the things we hear but the things on paper right in front of us can't be denied. Even if you don't know what happened to your husband's letter, it made such an impression that just thinking about it brings back memories. That's a powerful gift. :-)

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

This devotional was wonderful and inspired me to write a letter to my husband for Valentines Day. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Danielle Thorne said...

Thank you for such a sweet post. A great reminder that brought me to tears.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Linda, I can't wait to hear about it! Maybe Gail will have you share your story so we can all read the follow-up! :-) And thanks all for stopping by. My husband will be wonderfully embarrassed. lol

Anne Patrick said...

Wonderful devotion, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Laurean Brooks said...

Jennifer, Ahhh, love! I'm a sentimental fool, myself. Cherish those love letters. Something engraved in your memory and soul.

Beautiful post. I really enjoyed it.

Gina said...

Oh, what a precious and touching post, thank you for reminding us of what love is all about!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anne! It was a fun memory to relive as I wrote it! Laurean, you are right, and may I remember that day on those days when my husband's human side over-shadow the Casanova! (Which is rare. grin)
Thanks, Regina!

And Gail, thanks for having me! I love your blog!

Gail Pallotta said...

The pleasure was mine, Jennifer.
Thank you for your special Valentine's Day devotional.

Cecelia said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing!
Cecelia Dowdy
Cecelia Dowdy