This month we celebrate love. First and foremost, we probably assume this is romantic love. But for those not in a romantic relationship, love can come in the form of time spent with family and friends. We celebrate being grateful for those we love and for those that love us.
And in a world that is sometimes cynical, we may wonder where love truly is, especially in the day-to-day of our lives. Love isn’t just romantic or filial or friendly. It can come in moments of kindness when we least expect it.
I have grown to realize that we all need to be appreciative of loving gestures we may receive from many sources… even strangers. Blanche DuBois, one of the main characters in the classic movie “A Streetcar Named Desire”, asserts that in her life she has always “depended on the kindness of strangers.
Although there are many interpretations of why that happened in her life, the point is that she is grateful for those whose generosity she had to depend on. Even those she did not know well or that were complete strangers.
For Thanksgiving each year, our family has our dinner the Sunday before the holiday. This allows my son and daughter-in-law to go to her parent’s home on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the week before that Sunday we bought all the necessary groceries and put them in our second refrigerator in our storage room. When Sunday arrived and we went to get the food to begin cooking our Thanksgiving feast, we discovered that the refrigerator had stopped working and all the food was spoiled. Sad to say at the least, but this was one of those moments my mother called “you can’t cry over spilled milk” moments. It was just one of those things that happens.
The next day I was attending a stretching session with a young girl that I did now know very well at all…a stranger. She asked me what I was doing for Thanksgiving, and; I reiterated my refrigerator fiasco. Without a moment’s hesitation and in the most caring voice, she said that she was sorry for what happened and that her church provides Thanksgiving dinner to anyone in need, and she would be happy to arrange for me to get one if that would help our family.
All I could think of was what a kind and loving thing to want to do for someone she did not know. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of a stranger.
So on Valentine’s Day this year, if you are not in a romantic relationship, if friends are busy or family is not near, spend the day doing small acts of kindness for others. You will love doing this, and someone will love receiving your gestures. This too is love.
– Mary Grace Musuneggi