We wrote love notes over four years, my husband and me. E-mails sent across college campus cyberspace and letters flown across the Atlantic: love confessed, two hearts won over and almost lost. Jotting down love in words helps us identify our rawest emotions and express what we struggle to say out loud. Our passions poured out, reflections recalled, loss lamented, and worship written.
To inspire your Valentine’s, I’ve gathered love letters from some favorite writer friends and sprinkled in a few of my own: mostly poetry and a little prose. So grab a mug of something good and I urge you, slow down and savor these words. They are so worth it.
When Opposites Attract
You drive love like a trusty sedan
made of grease and gears,
freshly changed oil,
and four snow tires
steadily gripping icy roads.
I write love like a literary classic
made of language and time,
pages quietly waiting,
and meaning that deepens
with every careful read.
When I carry this volume out to you,
you buckle me in the passenger seat.
The book says, There is beauty on the horizon.
The full tank answers, That’s not too far to go.
-by Emily Conrad
In the Nest
Under the quiet nest of shaded morning comforter,
I snuggle with a fuzzy headed baby bird.
His feet padded thump, thump, thump up the stairs,
Knob clicked, door slammed.
Little body plopped into my dreams.
He finds the safest, deepest hole,
head under my outstretched arm
Pillows, haloing his blonde crown.
He pulls my other arm across him as a shield.
He doesn’t mind my ranky breath
For I am his blanket, his bed, and the beginning of his world today.
I have vowed not to let this bird wrankle my morning nest.
It’s a bad habit, you know, and might make him too clingy at age 30.
But the days are short that I can warm my morning in the gray of half-light
Love filling my lungs and life
Our sighs and slumber, one,
A Thousand More Sundays
Today, we pulled weeds and swept the front porch. The kids played with the dogs and they all wore each other out. I pushed you into the dirt road because my new phone doesn’t have any pictures of you and I just need a few with a pretty background. You were distracted with my brother’s new remote control flying thing. I saw the little boy in you come alive again, so I stood quietly at your side and snapped these memories so I can pull them out later if I forget. We made sugar cookies. We caught up on our shows. We didn’t check email or reply to messages.
We just were. And we were together.
It was cloudy today and you asked me if our marriage is as good as you feel like it is. I just smiled and told you that you’re not an idiot. Or maybe we both are, but as long as we’re ignorant & utterly happy together, I’m good. I’ll live through a thousand more cloudy, weed-pulling, porch-sweeping, sugar-cookie-decorating, marriage-evaluating days with you. Just as long as I get to do it quietly and at your side. I’ll keep collecting these memories and you can keep letting that little boy in you play on Sundays, because God and I know the man in you has to suit up for all the Mondays.
I find you in the shape of my daughter’s eyes,
Eyes of chocolate-brown, who look to the stars for a lyric of you.
I find you in the warmth of Eros love,
Love which envelopes me, a two-decade story that writes itself still.
I find you in the high moon, hung in pale morning sky… I feel you appear,
Appear before a rising sun, a startling display.
I find you in my carnal rage
Rage that subsides when you well up inside, a living water fountain of quiet calm
You found me in the midst of deep despair
A despair extinguished by mercy.
You found me when danger enveloped.
I—enveloped in ancient chicanery.
Grace cut and reshaped.
Your love, wrecking me still.
-by Jessica Galan
Love in the Empty
I miss the future I was supposed to have with you.
And it’s such a beautiful indulgence to imagine the way life may have turned out if you were still here. And somehow, in some way, there is still an ache inside me for the life I never got to have with you. It won’t go away. Some days, there is no place I can go to escape from the longing.
Somehow, I still want it.
I think about who I would be. Better. Happier. Easier. Lighter. Not so freakin’ complicated.
I think about who our kids would be. They would not carry The Empty Space. The heartache of living a life–an entire life– without their dad. I would not also be carrying it for them.
The Big Life Events pass by, the road inevitably paved by loss and a heavier weight than seems fair. But mainly, it’s the dailyness of you I miss for them. For me.
It may not have been easier. Or better. Or beautiful. Maybe it would’ve been worse? But I’ll never know. And it’s all the not knowing, all these years that won’t let go. When I’m not being careful, grief is an unrelenting taskmaster.
I still imagine. I’m still left only to imagine and miss what might have been. I don’t need to be reminded that perhaps I’m missing out on what could be. I understand that. I know that. I do.
Tomorrow, I’ll do better.
But for today, I still wonder. And I still miss you. And what might’ve been.
-by Julie Baun
A Love Like This
I wave my flag
Stitched in delicate threads
Of thank you for mercy anew
Each dew dripped morning
You love me in bold
Life into who I have become
I make known my surrender
In thank you for grace again
When I begin to fall
You lift me up
A love like this
Brings me to my knees
In hallelujah praise
For what is new each day
I long for you.
Sidle up close,
Hip to hip
Press my hand to your knee.
Minutes of a moment to slow us
So living becomes the way we are.