My Valentine's Day Date with God
Updated: Oct 15, 2018
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is in the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
7 years ago, I went on the best Valentine's Day date of my life! I was going through a lot of changes at the time. I had just graduated college, signed with an opera company as an ensemble member and was trying to audition for as many shows as possible. I was searching for that "what next" thing in my life. I studied music with an emphasis in vocal performance and had my degree in hand but had no idea what was ahead in the real world of life as a performer; practice, auditions, networking, traveling, resumes, headshots, constant rejection, career management..etc! I kept trying to work it all out on my own. After all, I didn’t need to ask God for help in this area of my life right?! Oh.. I couldn’t be more wrong! I needed Him more than ever! When I realized I wasn't praying for guidance during this time of my life, I felt so foolish. I hadn't asked God for help because I thought I could do it on my own. I’m sure you’ve been there too!
I distinctly remember making the decision to begin including God in every aspect of my life, even in the silliest things like... while I'm shopping, doing my hair, organizing my room, washing my hands etc.. Praying without ceasing became a daily routine. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Valentine's Day was coming up and I didn't have a "date." I was focused on God and told Him that I will remain focused on Him on Valentine's Day despite what people say about having a valentine. One of the world’s most famous tenors, Juan Diego Florez was booked to perform in Fresno on Valentine's Day to give a Valentine's Day concert. Of course, everyone (friends/collegues/professors) was planning on going with their significant other. I made a firm decision that I was going to go with God that night to the concert. I bought my ticket (very back row because they were cheapest) and wanted to buy a nice dress (my date was God afterall).
While at the mall, I go into this expensive dress shop knowing everything in that store was out of my price range. Just to be silly, I tried on a dress and fell in love with it. It was one shoulder charcoal grey dress about knee length. I remember talking to God saying, "God, I love this dress! Do you like it?" But knowing I couldn't afford it, I put it back on the rack and decided to go home and look another day for a dress. The next day, I was giving lessons to a student and her mom tipped me saying she was grateful for my help and hopes I can buy whatever I need. She tipped me more than I had ever been tipped and I realized...'Wow, I can buy my dress.' I was crying with tears of joy realizing how God was providing for me.
It's Valentine's Day! Everyone in town was so excited to attend the Juan Diego Florez Valentine's Day concert. As I was doing my hair and makeup that evening, I was talking to God and praying about how we are going to have a great night and how I was so proud to take Him as my date. To others this may sound silly but I was actually doing this. I got ready knowing God was my date so I had to make sure I looked my best. When I arrived at the theater I see many colleagues and professors. It was a sold out show and couples flooded the theater. Many asked, "Who are you dressed up for?" My response, "God is my date tonight." I could tell they thought it was silly I was attending the concert "alone."
As I went to my seat in the very back row, I knew people were wondering who I came with. Juan Diego Florez performed an amazing first half of his concert. His voice soared as he performed some of the most famous love arias from different operas. Throughout the first half of the show, I noticed two empty seats in the very front row. No one had taken them. It was a sold out concert and I remember those seats were worth $500 plus dollars. At intermission, I ask an usher if I could sit there and she said, “Yes, if no one else does.” I remember telling God, "Maybe those seats are for us!” I proceeded to walk downstairs from the balcony to the front row seats. A friend who was sitting near the area told me that no one was sitting there and that it would be ok to sit.
I was so excited to be in the front row. "Thank you God for these seats," I told Him. I felt as though He was treating me to an amazing night. As Mr. Florez came back out for the second half of the show, I saw him look at me as he proceeded to the center of the stage. As a performer, you notice people in the front row because part of your stage light is shining on them. Sitting in the front was amazing as I could see his facial expressions and hear his voice up close. It was beautiful.
Finally, after many encores Mr. Florez came out onstage with a flower in hand and sang his final aria "Una Furtiva Lagrima" from the opera L'elisir d'amore which is a very famous love aria. He sang the entire aria to this flower in his hand. As he held his last note he looked at me and reached out to give me the flower. Even though I was only one in that building without a "date" with me, I could feel every girl's jealousy in the theater. The world's most famous romantic tenor just gave me a flower!!! I told Mr. Florez thank you as the audience began to stand and applaud him for his stunning performance.
Then I realized, "Oh my gosh! I didn't think I was getting anything for Valentine's Day and God gave me a flower!" I had gotten everything a girl could ask for on Valentine's Day! A beautiful dress, a lovely evening out, front row seats and a beautiful flower to end the night off. I truly felt that God was thanking me for taking Him on this date that He was blessing me with everything I needed to make the night special I did not expect my Valentine's Day to be THAT amazing but it was because I chose to take the one man who loves me more than any man ever will. I chose to keep God the center and focus of my life that day instead of wanting material things that the world says we should have on Valentine's Day. It was really the best Valentine's Day a girl could ever ask for and from then on, I decided that my full focus in every day life is to keep God in everything I do. God is the example of true love and if you just focus all of your heart on Him, He will do beautiful things in your life! It was a Valentine's Day I will never forget! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE! ♥ ♥ Always, Valerie Salcedo