On my most memorable Valentine’s Day, I was blissfully alone.

I was 20 and in college, and blindly but surely hopeful that something good was waiting around the corner. I didn’t know what, or when, or how, but I just felt it in the air. I wanted to celebrate that feeling by doing something special, so I decided to go see the sunrise from a small hill behind my campus.

There was nothing remarkable about the hike; I woke up in the dark and climbed the hill alone in my college sweatpants and hoodie. There was no one at the top, and by the time I got there, the edges of the sky were beginning to turn a brighter blue. It was cold as fishballs and I sat there waiting, feeling a little stupid. I wasn’t sitting there with anyone, nor was I there to make a brave statement about myself or how bravely single I was.

I just wanted to see something beautiful, and savor it. Dance in it. Sit, unafraid, surrounded by it. My heart was light and yearning for it, and somehow knew how close it was.

The sun rose. I watched it dyeing the bleached-blue skies golden orange, read a passage from the Bible, took a few pictures and climbed back down the hill for some scrambled eggs.

Good things did happen after this sunrise, mixed in with some bad. What happened exactly isn’t all that important to me now. What a small, ordinary thing that hour was. And yet my heart still races a little faster to remember that morning.

I am glad now that I was hopeful then.

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