Now we’ve reached the last week until the big day, it seems like we can’t get away from the red and pink hearts displayed in stores and homes. As Enrique Iglesias sings in “Escape,” “You can run/ You can hide/ but you can’t escape my love,” we too find ourselves surrounded. I even find myself (coincidentally) following the mail truck during my actual runs and smile at the thought of the notes my best friends have sent and that others may soon find in their own mailboxes. Some people convince themselves this holiday only works for couples but, as I’ve mentioned previously, it celebrates all love. Consider an opportunity to celebrate with a friend who may feel more like hiding due to loneliness. Really, Galentine celebrations have always ranked as my favorite get togethers, so I’ve invited a girl friend to join me this year.
The hit book Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts captures the spirit of community, and thus Galentines, in the story about young Novalee moving into a Wal-Mart and having her baby there. Abandoned by her boyfriend and the father of her child, Novalee finds herself in an unfamiliar small Oklahoma town. Yet upon leaving the hospital with her new baby Americus, she finds a new home and mother figure who opened her home after one brief meeting. She develops a close knit group of girl friends who show up for each other in times of need and times of celebration.
This story unexpectedly had me turning pages, imagining the bonds shared in the Oklahoma town. Though seemingly simple, Novalee shows a lot of growth as well as inherent wisdom as she devours books at the library and learns from her experiences. She possesses an admirable strength as she pushes forward despite knowing she may not have the ideal life situation. Her friends remain at her side to support her efforts to care for Americus, hones her skills to develop a photography career and opens up to an opportunity for love with a top pick of the litter.
Our Galentines can do the same for us. Just yesterday my friend showed up during a time of disappointment for me. We’ve been meeting regularly to support some mutual goals and provide support, but yesterday showed extra care. Not long after, we both felt better and witnessed improvement in our projects. Another friend has showered me with cheesy Valentine notes to join me celebrating my favorite holiday. My conversations with her already brighten my days regularly, but these cards add extra sunshine. With quality friends by our sides, we can stand stronger and move forward together.