By Pauline Reneaux
The month of February has arrived and with it candy, flowers, hearts, and all things “love” greet us as we enter the stores. Those with someone in their lives welcome this time with the enthusiasm that often can be compared to a young child at Christmas. On the other hand, singles often look forward to the candy that goes on sale on February 15th. Why not change up the script this year and look at this month that is so symbolic of love a bit differently?
I recently read Bob Goff’s two books Love Does and Everybody Always. The beauty of the story that is his own life, and that I find so inspirational, is that he is no different than the rest of us. He shares his journey of finding his way from adolescence to adulthood, which can provide hope to people of all ages. It also serves as a reminded that we too can do extraordinary things with lives that we sometimes think are merely ordinary. The main idea behind his work is that we can and should love everybody. We should not just wait for the month of February and Valentine’s Day. We should look around and see what needs are not being met within our family, friends, neighborhood or community. Maybe it is to hand out blankets, coats and food to the homeless on these frigid February nights. Maybe offer to babysit for the single mom trying to get through life as best she can. If babysitting is not something you are comfortable with, bring her a meal or a gift card for a local restaurant. How about an elderly neighbor that may just appreciate some company or a kind word.
If you want to make anyone feel love this month, or really at any time for that matter, then take a minute to stop and look around you. Really look around you. To go out into this world that seems to be stressed out in a way that we have never seen before in my lifetime and to show love to our neighbors, even if we disagree with them, that is love in action. You may be rolling your eyes as you read this while drink your morning coffee. “Love everybody, always – yeah, WHATEVER Pauline,” but I want you to look more closely at the cover of Bob’s book. Do you see those finger prints on the cover?
What you will discover in the pages of his book is that Bob Goff was the first to prosecute witch doctors for the horrific things they did to children, but he was also the first to forgive them and open a school for them to teach them to read and write. You see, in order for him to be true to the idea that Love Does, he knew that this meant helping those who were searching for it, even if they were in prison. Sometimes, the people that we reach out to may not be in an actual prison for a crime, but maybe they are in a prison of loneliness or despair. We never know the impact that a kind word or simple gesture can have on someone. Candy, cards and flowers are one thing, but kindness outweighs them all in the big scheme of life.
When we put down our phones, when we stop to look around and see what people need, when we go out and do for others, these efforts have a profound impact on both their lives and our own. If you want this to be the BEST month ever, do not think about what someone can give you for Valentine’s Day, figure out what you can do to bring love into someone else’s life throughout the year. Everybody deserves to feel appreciated. Everybody deserves to be heard. Everybody deserves to feel loved.
In last month’s piece, D is for Dream, I promised to include a photo this month showing you my vision board. Using Pinterest, I built mine with both long term and short term dreams in mind. It really does not matter how long it takes for our dreams to become a reality, the important part is that we not give up on them.
Until next month…
To learn more about Pauline Reneaux, visit her blog at Pauline-Reneaux.com. She welcomes email at firstname.lastname@example.org