I’m aware I posted about Valentine’s Day last week, but I didn’t tell you one of my favorite stories about the day. It’s about love. Not romantic love and not filial love. It’s about agape.
I had a friend several years ago who was a counselor at the crisis center where I worked. One winter day she drove to a West Tennessee prison to be with a client whose abuser was appearing before the parole board, asking for early release. She stayed through the day, supporting the victim with her presence and her caring until the hearing was over.
Afterward, emotionally drained, my friend decided to treat herself to a good meal in a fancy restaurant, so she drove into Memphis to an upscale eating establishment. After she was seated alone at a table for two, she began to relive the day and to weep for her client, a young girl who had bravely faced her offender once again.
My friend said that after several sympathetic looks from customers at other tables, even an encouraging pat on the shoulder from an older woman walking past — only then did she remember the date. February 14. Valentine’s Day. Surely everyone thought she was crying over a lost love.
Instead hers were the most precious tears of all. Tears of compassion shed for someone else’s pain.