Love in unlikely quarters

A bouquet of roses, white roses perhaps? Because red is too mainstream,

Decadent chocolate that melts in your mouth,

Exotic getaway, somewhere where the horizon meets the waters creating the perfect sunset,

A Michael Kors handbag, or a Daniel Wellington timepiece, or a sexy pair of Louboutin heels, or…

For the longest time, these were the things in my list of the perfect Valentine gifts. Oh the days of my youth. And while there is nothing wrong with getting or giving these gifts, I learnt something big this past Valentines holiday. This post was birthed, in part, by a friend’s message on Whatsapp (peppered with subtle sarcasm), perhaps buoyed on by the assumption that singles do not get to enjoy this love-all-around holiday, something to the tune of, “So your Valentine? Where were you and your son taken?” (Taken??! )

I thought for a second, whether to reply in jest, complete with a double serving of sarcasm or just to downplay it. I opted to tell her as it was. “I spent my Valentines in Mathare slum in Ngong.”

“Huh, in a slum?” “Yeah, in a slum for a love project to reach out to single moms.”

This took my friend aback, for obvious reasons. Perhaps the expected answer was we were taken to some swanky hotel, and got XYZ… I have no regrets about how I spent my Valentines. See, I am part of a Bible Study Group, Wives in Waiting-Nairobi Chapter lead by Sitawa Wafula (and no, this is not a group that searches for husbands :D). For the month of February, part of the group’s activities was to reach out through a love project. At the core of this project was the fact that love need not be associated with the flowers and chocolate alone, but that we can share the love we have within.

Spending time with the young single moms, some in their teens, put so much in perspective for me. Sometimes, we fuss over ‘small stuff’, sweating over things which we will not remember in a month’s time, yet all someone somewhere needs is a meal for the day, a pair of shoes for their baby, even just a hug.

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For WiW- Nairobi. Photo Credits: Michelle K.

Reaching out to these young moms, sharing with them and getting to hear their stories reminded me of love in unlikely quarters. It reminded me of the love we all have deep within, sometimes covered by layers of worry and anxiety. It brought to mind how a simple act of love can change someone’s life. It brought to life the fact that while I whine and complain about not having somewhere to go for Valentines, someone somewhere would simply love to have the option of going somewhere and not having to engage in hard labor.

And therein lies the beauty. That we all have the capacity to reach out and be a blessing, sometimes in the simplest of ways. We need not wait for someone to ask us out on a date, or be taken (hehehe) someplace exquisite in order to share the love we have. Sometimes, even simply showing up and sharing with these moms is an act of love. This love project was as humbling as it was powerful, a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This was love in unlikely quarters. This was the best Valentines ever.

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