You know that feeling when you’re SURE that everyone else in the world has a significant other they are texting, a “plus one” to the wedding and a bestie for the restie? That achy lonely feeling of not being sure anyone really sees you?

I remember starting my first big girl job in a city where I knew absolutely no one. At first it was thrilling to spread my wings, but by the middle of my second week of calling my mom 49 times a day, I realized I had no friends. Well, except for the roommate I had met on Craigslist a few weeks prior. (Let that sink in for a second….Craigslist, guys.) Rest assured, this was back when the Internet was a little less scary, and thankfully she ended up being more of the bridesmaid type than serial killer type.

So, I was new to town and knew no one but my roommate, who had only lived there a few months. One evening, I shared with her my feelings of loneliness and we decided that rather than rent (another) full season of Desperate Housewives from Blockbuster–because that’s what we did back then–we needed to do something about it.

Valentine’s Day was approaching (and what better time to prey on other lonely strangers) so we thought it would be fun to host a Valentine’s brunch inviting all the girls we knew to come, eat and hang out.

It was a great plan, except for we didn’t know any girls. So, we girded our young professional loins and headed to our favorite Zumba workout class at the local YMCA. We samba-ed and merengue-d and then semi-awkwardly invited every chick in the entire class to come to our party that weekend.

We canvased both our work places, inviting co-workers and even picked up the phone and called–because that’s what we did back then–a few random girls we’d met at our church’s singles’ group. We put together the menu, a playlist and crossed our fingers somebody would show up…

Much to our delight over 15 girls came. All of whom, by the end of our time together, admitted struggling with loneliness, worth and identity. We were amazed to see them exchanging phone numbers, becoming friends and even roommates and eventually even bridesmaids in each other’s weddings!!

What came from that feeble attempt at hospitality ended up bringing lifeline and lifelong friendships. My good ole Craigslist roomie and I were so thankful we had stepped out of our own feelings of isolation and invited others along in our search of community.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself, a newly wed bride experiencing the same feelings. This time in a new town with another new job. A few years later, as brand-spanking new parents my husband and I were in the same place of needing friends. And I’m sure you can relate in your various seasons of life. It seems these same feelings are exposed in our hearts every time we experience transition.

Well, this year, I think we should all do something about it. What if we used Valentine’s Day as the perfect excuse to do just that? Maybe this year you could think through a few favorite friend (or rally some fabulous randoms) and throw your very own simple, yet memorable Galentine’s Day Party?

I say pick 5-7 friends, invite them over next Saturday morning around 10.

Run to the store for a box of muffin mix (pumpkin bread/muffin mix with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips thrown in is THE best!), a tub of vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and some granola, (chia seeds, flax and the like if you’re feeling fancy!) Set out some coconut shavings, sprinkles, nuts and honey, splurge on some pretty flutes (Ikea has some pretty ones for $1/each!) lay it all out nicely with cute disposable everything and enjoy a fruit and yogurt bar!

I like doing make-your-own bars because it gets people moving, talking and creating! Plus, you literally dump stuff in bowls and it somehow looks way more magical than it really is.

If yogurt bars aren’t your thing, perhaps you could do a Favorite Things Exchange or a Chocolate Exchange (!!!) or just sit around and talk. Whatever you decide, people will be so glad you took the initiative to invite them into your home for a simple, yet lovely morning.

I know there are lots of negative connotations about Valentine’s Day. Parents of elementary school children and Hallmark wayyyy overdo it (and blow up social media in the process), which leave people feeling all the feelings that go along with S.A.D (singles awareness day), but I think we can redeem this holiday!

Why not make someone else feel seen and known and cared for? Why not be a picture of Jesus to someone? After all, HE is the heart of hospitality! We love Him because He first loved us! So, who could you include and create meaningful memories for this Valentine’s Day? How can you reflect and celebrate God’s love with those around us?

Kitty Hurdle

You can follow Kitty on Twitter + Instagram @kitty_hurdle

Images courtesy of Pintrest + Glitter Guide

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