Somehow holidays creep up on me. Naturally, today, Valentine’s Day comes to mind – is it tomorrow already? I see images of hearts everywhere, an eternal expression of love, as well as other suggestions such as small gifts that often hold to the red and white (maybe some pink) theme, maybe roses or carnations and yummy sweets.
What do you do with that? How far do you take it? How much do you buy into the expectations that umpteen ads and displays impose on you? Especially if the people you love are far away…
One lovely little paperback my children had put things in perspective for me – it was called Four Valentines in a Rainstorm.* On the surface it’s about Valentine’s Day, yes, but see what you think. Maybe there’s more to it…
A little girl named Cornelia Augusta “caught some” and proceeded to use them in clever ways to make Valentines for her friends. She used little ones to make a heart necklace, an “especially handsome” one with a very white and very soft cotton ball to make another, a whole lot that were “so small” she had to paste them on one paper and paint around them, and one she cut holes in to look like Swiss cheese!
“…and the next, and all the years after that, Cornelia Augusta found other ways to make Valentines.”
Such simple lessons!
1. Oh, look! It’s raining hearts. Maybe I can do something with that. She saw an opportunity. Instead of analyzing the meteorological quirkiness of it or looking with disgust at the mess it made on the ground, she saw the hearts as a means to make others happy.
2. Hmmm, with a little string and glue and paint and a cotton ball… She didn’t go out and purchase a pre-made anything. She didn’t take a class to learn tole painting or paper quilling. She used simple materials that she had at hand.
3. How about a sweet necklace (kind of like a collar) for Puppy, swiss cheese for Mousie, a heart with a fluffy tail for Bunny with the fluffy tail and watercolors for Mr. Turtle? No one-size-fits-all for Cornelia Augusta. She matched the gift to the one she gave it to.
4. No big deal. She did the thing she could do – she gave from her heart – and skipped along on her merry way. She didn’t peek in her own mailbox longingly, waiting for reciprocation. The giving was the important thing.
The fact is, it doesn’t rain hearts every day. The ways we have to show we care, to show we love, present themselves randomly and strangely. Opportunities don’t necessarily fall on the designated days. People are different, with different likes, schedules, sensitivities. Let your heart (not the media) be your guide as to timing and substance.
Just pay attention. See what comes your way. Do what you can with it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit the mold as long as it fits the person. Know that in the end your kindness brings great reward — even if it’s a far different reward than you ever would have imagined.