Monday: Valentine

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 36:7

My Great-grandfather’s name was Valentine. He was born in Germany in 1860. He married Appolonia, my mother’s middle name which she preferred not to use, but I found no record of the year they married.

I have a tattered black and white photo of him with my great grandmother. It was taken when they were older. I’m not sure what he did for a living or why he came to America. I am left wondering who he was.

They had five children and lived in Milwaukee. Their daily stories are long forgotten except for births, deaths and the children born to them. Two of the children had unusual names (Rosalia and Ignatius). Rosalia was my grandmother, my mom’s mother whose name was Beatrice.

Great Grandfather Valentine died in 1940, the year Winston Churchill became the British Prime Minister. It was that year Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands during World War II. 

I wonder how Great Grandfather took the news. Did it break his heart? Was it why he gave up on life? Or did he long for his wife who died nine years earlier? I will never know. No one ever left a story.

That’s it for the family tree of Valentine.

As February 14 draws near, I muse over the type of man he may have been. My sister, Diane, believes he was a dapper type from his photo. He was well dressed, wore a thick groomed mustache and appeared robust in the photo. His wife was petite and stood by his side after years of marriage. They lived during a difficult time in history, as yet another war heated up in the world. Their story is only told by a worn black and white photo and a few dates.

The Bible has stories of people lives. We have some information about those who have gone before us. Men and women who followed God. It is so important these stories are told. Or eventually, just like my Great Grandfather Valentine, the stories of God’s great love and desire for all to be saved will disappear.

Read the Bible and share the stories God left for you.

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