My colleague, Natalie, recently shared another story with me. It is a classic tale of love found, lost and reclaimed, right before her very eyes.

A member of her family, a Golden Lab whose name now escapes me, was well known for his affectionate ways and a deep love of cats. On visiting extended family in their home the dog was overjoyed to meet his cousin, a cat who did not immediately see the reality of the dog’s genuine affection for her. As the dog loped into the house the cat took off in the opposite direction. The dog was confused, the cat hid until he left and anyone would expect this to be the end of the story.

But it was not.

The next meeting between these two creatures turned out quite differently. The Golden Lab still loped into the house, but this time the cat sat still. She waited for the dog to walk up to her, then started rubbing her head against his chin. The dog, completely enamored of such a generous display of affection, laid down and thoroughly enjoyed their visit.
The moral of this story is two-fold: never underestimate the power of a good snuggle and know when to stay put to receive the love offered to you.
Valentine’s Day is so easily dismissed as a series of disappointments, expectations not met. We often set ourselves up for what we want only to miss the very thing we desire most that comes straight to us. Love takes many forms, but receiving it takes only one gesture of action on our part, and sometimes that is simply not running away. It takes strength, courage, open-mindedness, some good deep breaths, and an awareness that God, who is love in action, really does work in mysterious ways.

“Watch the whole world around you with glittering eyes, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in the magic will never find it!” This quote from the author Roald Dahl is displayed prominently on my refrigerator door. I read it every day and remember how much these words speak truth to faith in action. We can think about and share what we believe about God, but eventually those thoughts and feelings are called upon to be put into action through experience. Without the experience of faith in action we do not understand the full measure of grace that is available to us at every turn, particularly hidden in those most unlikely places.

Somewhere between their first and second meeting, the cat realized the dog meant no harm, and wanted to be her friend. What initially appeared to be a threat, was no threat at all. Fear is frequently false evidence appearing real and the cat figured that out. The dog also realized the cat may give him a second shot at making their relationship work. At some point we must all come to the point of recognizing what is false, what is real and respond accordingly. When we allow ourselves to do so regarding God’s deep, abiding love for us, we not only take a leap of faith, but we stay in the truth God put us there to receive.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Challenge your faith - visit