I’m excited Valentine’s Day is nearly here — on Friday, Feb. 14. That means spring is just over a month away. As fast as time flies, it’ll likely seem like it’s here before we know it.
I’ve noticed, by the way, that here in Western Washington, we often begin to see signs of the new seasons before the first day each actually arrives. So I figure we should be getting some sunshine and warmer weather soon that will help dry out our soggy area. (Actually, we had a pretty dry autumn, followed by a winter with less than the more frigid temperatures we often see here. So I’m not complaining.)
But I’m especially glad that Valentine’s Day — and its theme of love — is just around the corner for another, more important, reason. It’s an opportunity to share something that’s very much on my mind, and even, appropriately, on my heart.
THE WORLD CAN BE A MEAN PLACE
Though it’s nothing new, since our imperfect human nature’s been with us since the Garden of Eden, there seems to be much more nasty behavior — and attitudes — around nowadays than ever before. First, I want to be very clear that I realize and am very thankful that there are still many wonderful, loving and giving people that cross our paths every day.
These days, though, I notice that, along with road rage and other out-workings of what happens when someone gets his or her “nose out of joint,” it can be a rugged world to try to deal with.
After all, we all have our rights, right? And when someone is crossed by another, there seems to be a new rule that the offended person also has a right to darn well let the offender know it in no uncertain terms.
Often it’s done loudly and with disturbing words, even when the folks involved have never met before. Or it can be grumbling that seems to go on and on, perhaps with threats of retribution, and can even come to fisticuffs, or worse.
WHO’S WATCHING THE “WAR”?
It would be bad — and sad — enough if it were only adults addressing their differences in such ways, but more often than not, displays of aggravation, annoyance and even fury take place publicly. Though it no doubt unsettles other adults having to witness such actions, how is it affecting children of any age when exposed to such warring grown-ups?
It certainly appears to me that our society is becoming more violent. I grew up under a violent parent. And most of the time, my other parent did little to help. That was usually in our home, but these days it seems it can happen anywhere.
I won’t share details, but I was terrified of the violent parent until that one’s death finally put an end to it when I was well into adulthood.
Of course, that kind of behavior also can include the perpetrator resorting to yelling, lying and other aggressive actions. It’s never a pretty picture.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?
The recent impeachment of President Donald Trump by our House of Representatives, followed by the Senate trial that acquitted him, included a lot of anger and angst, to say nothing of selfishness, along with lies, threats and other dark behavior — all by so-called, “professional” adults, many of whom were downright mean in front of the whole country.
I’m as imperfect as the next person, but the outward displays of self-centeredness, inward animosity, loathing and even hatred by many throughout the process was truly painful to behold.
I’ve been mulling how a person can help have a positive effect on a society that’s not only becoming more malicious, and even nasty, let alone that kind of behavior seemingly considered acceptable by many.
I don’t have the whole answer, but it seems like those who want to help, even in seemingly small ways, could make a difference. That’s why I’m happy about Valentine’s Day: An annual observance with the theme of love should give us opportunities to bless others by letting them know they’re important to us.
It might sound smarmy, but I’m going to do what I can to let others know I care about them and appreciate having them in my life.
Hey, it can’t hurt.
And it just might help spread some good around.
Moreover, if we turn our thoughts to positive ideas — we’re likely to find countless opportunities to do the same anytime throughout the year. It doesn’t have to be on a special day. In fact, our doing that any day could make it a special day for someone who needs it.
To reach columnist Tommi Halvorsen Gatlin, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.