It was the last day of the year 1909 when Grace wrote this letter to her fiancé, George, who was waiting for her return after she and her family had been gone for nearly a year, seeking healing for Grace’s little sister, Daisy, and her mother. They spent most of their time away in Nebraska, but these last few letters are written from St. Louis, Missouri. From the previous letter, it seems they were in a sanitarium to get some healing.
I love reading the events of that last day, spent exploring St. Louis with her brother, Walt. It sounds like Grace had a good, but exhausting day and was missing her sweetheart a great deal. I can’t imagine being separated, going so long, without seeing or talking to the man I love. But their love remained, and eventually, they did get married and were married for over 60 years.
On this Valentine’s Day, I hope you enjoy reading this letter that is full of information from long ago but also a sense of love and missing in it as well:
St. Louis, Missouri
Dec. 31st, 1909
Mr. George Wilkinson
Dearest Boy: I received your very welcome letter yesterday. I meant to answer it before now, but haven’t taken time. I have been on a “tare” today. Walt and I started out at nine and walked over to Kings Highway Boulevard and down past some very swell places. It is the “bon-ton” residence-district and they sure looked it. There we walked down towards town and saw quite a number of sights. I can tell it better than I can write it so I will save the most of it till I come back. I got pretty tired so we took a car the rest of the way down. I went into Ben’s and gazed a while and then visited three 5 and 10 cent stores.
We next visited the Union Market, and that appealed to me very strongly just then, as it was noon. A good many swells come there to buy and the “autos” were thick around there. We looked a little bit and then streaked it for home. I was nearly worn out and the car made me sick so I have been resting this afternoon.
The snow has melted so much today that, by noon the streets were fierce.
I don’t know just yet when I will start back but think I will stay the limit.
I hope your work has lightened by now. (George was a postman and must have had a load of deliveries for the holidays that was just about over.)
The man in the next room has the asthma awfully bad. He is just here visiting his wife and little boy, but has it nearly all the time.
Well, good night, sweetheart. A very happy New Year to you and yours. I wonder if you are thinking of the last three New Year’s evenings?
What is the special love that you are celebrating, or perhaps missing? I know that for some, true, romantic love may be something in the past; may be something you remember with joy but also sadness because it didn’t last, or it ended too soon because of divorce, or death. I think of that saying: “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” I believe that is true. I pray you have that love with you right now. A love to celebrate forever. But if not, I pray you had that love and can hold the memories close and find joy in the fact that there was great love in your life. And if you are still waiting, I pray that love will find you very soon.
One thing I do know, I believe with all my heart … God loves us more than we can imagine, more than the greatest lover of all times. God gave his only Son so that we would know how much He loves us and that we would have eternal life with him; that we have no fear of death; that sin and evil would be conquered and we could have a relationship with God, our Creator. We may experience great love in this world and the joy and sorrow that comes with it as we journey through this life. But one thing is certain, and Paul says it clearly in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you are celebrating your love life with the love of your life, remember there is a love even greater!
If you have known great love in the past, but are grieving the loss of a loved one, know that you are still truly loved!
If you have longed to be loved but have yet to really experience it, or have given up on it, know that you are loved.
Distance, Death and divorce – many things can separate us from our human loves, but nothing – no nothing – can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Celebrate love today!