SIGNIFICANT OTHER, OR SIGNIFICANT ONE?

MY FRIEND GAIL WAS TRYING TO PUT UP A BRAVE front. It had been a tough day for her as she watched a steady parade of Valentine bouquets being delivered to her female colleagues. In past years she would have been on the receiving end, too. But now, newly divorced, she had no red roses coming her way. Sitting at her unadorned desk, hearing her co-workers' "oohs" and "aahs" of delight, my friend felt ... insignificant.

Later that day, at a women's assertiveness training course, she found her fellow singles equally miserable. Letting loose with her tears, she shared details of her humiliation at the office. After a pause, the group facilitator asked, "And what have you done to ensure that the next Valentine's Day won't be the same?"

Gail was stunned. Surely it wasn't her responsibility to make things better, she thought. Wasn't it up to someone else to waltz into her life and transform it with dimension and direction?

If Gail's experience strikes close to home, you're not alone. It's a widespread notion that life is only half-full—if not empty—without a partner. We've probably all had that yearning for romance and companionship and, perhaps too, for the stamp of the significance of being in a twosome. If being asked for a date (or having your invitation accepted) hints at your appeal, the ultimate validation of that appeal is to be wanted for keeps! What could be more self-affirming, people ask, than being at the center of someone else's world?

Longing, even scheming, may indeed result in a date, even the heady rush of romance. But once the dust has settled, most of us inevitably find the relationship requires more than eagerness to please. For the relationship to thrive, each partner has to draw from an inner pool of resources her or his special brand of unique strengths and insights.

But what if you've lost track of that uniqueness? And where can you go to find a selfhood that's precious on its own merits? You can go to God. He tenderly assures us, "I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.... bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory" (Isa. 43:1, 6, 7).

Wow. What a tribute to our worthiness—that God should claim us as His own! It's one thing to be a person's significant other. Quite another to be God's significant one. Made in His likeness, for His glory, we have a marvelous wholeness, brimming with spiritual qualities such as creativity, flexibility, and "unruffleability"—all good components of a happy relationship.

Gradually my friend grasped these empowering truths about herself. Shedding that old neediness, she said she felt spiritually grounded. So much so that her next Valentine's Day was different—she had developed a rich sense of her self-worth, with or without the flowers. Now happily remarried, she brings her own special buoyancy and love to her family and her community of friends.

Maybe Cupid hasn't made an appearance in your life. But angels of another type are always present. "... pure thoughts from God, winged with Truth and Love" is how these celestial angels are described in Science and Health (p. 298). They are thoughts that reassure us, moment by moment, that we have precious status in the eyes of God. That we are quite wonderful just as we are. And it's inevitable that the better you feel about yourself, the more inclined you are to give a kindly boost to others.

For instance, I once acted on the impulse to send Valentine flowers to someone in the family. Later I found out that this woman's daughter was very impressed by the unexpected gift she saw her mother receive—so much so that she began showing her mother more attention and respect.

We can always find someone on whom to shower our affections. The world is full of people needing to know they're valued. We can't send them all flowers. But we can embrace them in our thoughts as "significant ones"—trusting God to deliver the good news of their worth, as He's delivering ours to us now.

WE'VE PROBABLY ALL HAD THAT YEARNING FOR ROMANCE AND COMPANIONSHIP.

NEXT IN THIS ISSUE
SENTINEL WATCH
EVERYONE COULD USE SOME BLESSING
February 14, 2005
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