“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
~ Robert Heinlein
Today is Valentine’s Day, as everyone with any proximity to Hallmark knows. It is full of hearts, flowers, candies, and sentiments of love. I think we forget that the original Valentine was not a message to a romantic lover at all, but rather a message of love to those who were praying for the imprisoned St. Valentine.
Today I woke up not knowing how I should feel about this Valentine’s day. Had I remained married, this would have been my 25th anniversary. And yet, I feel no sadness about that, just acknowledgement. And the loves of my life, my children, are both out-of-town today. I love you Tony & Maria! But I do not feel lonely because of that either. I am not feeling the “down” emotions that I thought I might today. I woke feeling loved.
I had purchased some packets of yummy Ghirardelli chocolates so that I would have a sweet treat today. On my drive into work I stopped to pick up breakfast. As I was sitting in my car waiting to pull up to the drive through window to pay, I got inspired to share a chocolate with the ladies in the window. Wow – what a huge smile they both had when I handed them the cherished bit of chocolate and wished them a happy day. In that moment I realized that all the love I need on Valentine’s day is the love I spread around. With that, my mission for the day was clear – I would be the person who greeted everyone I see with a Happy Valentine’s Day smile and a chocolate. My heart is renewed and I have already seen the spark come back into the eyes of those I’ve met today. I don’t know if they are alone and I’m the only one who will give a love filled greeting to them. I don’t know if they are missing a loved one who has passed or gone far away. I just know that my encounter with them was a brief but genuine greeting of love.
So for today, everyone I see is my Valentine! To those who read this message – Happy Valentine’s Day to you! May you spread the love and be blessed!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
“If I only have hands to help and a heart to love, then I am truly blessed.” ~ Barbara Bernard Miller
Today as I was getting ready for work I flipped on the TV as I usually do. Bored with the never ending repeat of weather and traffic I flipped a few channels and found a simple show with a woman quietly talking to the audience and her calmness actually drew me in. I still have no idea of what her name is or what the program was because I could only watch a few minutes during my morning routine. But her message mesmerized me. There was nothing flashy or entertaining to catch my attention but the profound message of love captivated me. This woman, whoever she was, was recounting her work with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India.
She spoke of the humor and pure love that she witnessed and enjoyed in her work with Mother Teresa. She recounted the work she did as a volunteer at the children’s orphanage and the home for the dying. She repeatedly shared how beautiful the experience was – in spite of the hard work, ravished conditions, and utter despair in the eyes of some of the people. The greatest thing they starved for was for the love of human touch. A hug for child and holding the hand of those taking their last breaths.
In the brief 10 minutes I was able to listen I was enchanted by her stories. This woman not only got to stand beside and assist Saint Teresa of Calcutta, she got to experience the pure joy of loving the people in her own right. As she recounted what she received from the bony hugs she received back from the children or the last smile from the dying as she held their hand I was acutely aware at how blessed we all are to be able to touch another human being with simple acts of love. We don’t often notice it in our land of plenty where gift giving is taken to the fine art of greed.
But she touched me deeply with her words. She renewed in my heart the desire to live my purpose in life. She helped me, without ever knowing that I heard her speak, to re-examine what my gifts are and how I can help with my hands to bring a smile to the face of both loved one and stranger with a gentle touch, a warm smile, and a hug.
In my work as a Human Resources Manager for a large corporation I tend to meet alot of people. A whole lot. When I add in the work I do as a Myers-Briggs certified trainer, I meet a bunch more. Every once in a while I meet someone who absolutely, hands-down inspires me. It’s electric and enchanting when it happens!
I’ve been thinking about what it is that touches me so much about these people and I think I finally figured it out – because they are all about making the lives of others better. Simple isn’t it. They don’t even do it in big, grand or sweeping ways – they do it in everyday life. They are easy to talk to. They are genuine in their concern for those that don’t even usually have a voice in the matter. They are humble and kind. They aren’t donating wings of hospitals. (Don’t get me wrong – that’s pretty spectacular!) But the people that truly inspire me are the ones that make me happy to be me and happy to know them. Which is pretty much the basis for love – love grows when we are happy to be ourselves with someone else.
Simple … simple … simple.
I wonder, just wonder, if I am ever the person who inspires another. Do I measure myself against the right success criteria? Do I make them happy to be who they are when they are with me? Am I self-aware enough to notice?
If you want to see someone who I think is inspiring by venturing to spread smiles, peace and happiness in these difficult and worrisome times – check out Paul Wesselman and his uRock campaign. And then, check out this video on youTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k.