It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the “official” day of love.
Fire up the Facebook posts, the Instagram feed, and the Snapchat stories because the oooey-gooey declarations are coming! Flowers, songs and poems will flood cyberspace along with the tag lines to go with it – #blessed #lucky!!
Marketing machines will target your wallet, and you may not know what hit you. This year, though, I am challenging you to think outside the box. I think we all need a love lesson right about now.
Forgive me friends, but I’m feeling a bit jaded. I don’t know about all of you, but this year seems a bit, shall we say, intense. With the contentious presidential election, endless debates, protests and postelection toxicity going on, it seems like we need a recap on love in the worst way. Many have failed to even be civil.
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The definition of love is something we could stand to review; it is defined as “An intense feeling of deep affection and caring; affectionate feelings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf.”
We all know it’s easy to love those we agree with. Sadly, we seem to have confused someone’s political opinion, their stance on critical issues or their choices in life with a label; good or bad, right side or wrong, sinner or saint. And we are failing to love.
Love isn’t just about that special someone. Love is something we are called to do in all areas of life every day. It is love for our country, community, friends and family that we need in the worst way. This kind of love sustains us when life decides to throw us a curveball. When we most feel like giving up, it’s this kind of love that shows up to provide courage and strength.
We seem to have forgotten that most of us want the same thing. When we boil it down to our basic needs, we want shelter, meaningful relationships, safety, and a chance to improve our lives, whether through education, work or service. Universal desires that don’t change based on who is elected to office or how you view the world.
Yet many of us have pointed fingers, been unreasonable, and generally lost it at one point or another in recent history. In the words of my favorite coach, I think we all need to “simmer down!” It’s time to be civil again. It’s time to tell that neighbor, co-worker or family member that you love them anyway; that you can agree to disagree and yet still be on the same team rooting for each other to succeed.
I am not saying we can’t have opinions, support a certain political party, or even be passionate in the face of racism or discrimination. We absolutely should do those things. But if it causes us to have hate in our heart, or to judge someone based on those choices, then it’s misguided.
I know that in my life, different circumstances, trials and events have shaped the way I see myself and others. I have grown and changed over time and will continue to. I can’t be you and you can’t be me, but we can all strive to look through another lens, to be forgiving, to allow for growth and admit when we’re wrong.
I think we all need to be more curious. We need to admit that we don’t know everything. We can ask the questions that help us understand instead of give reasons to divide.
This Valentine’s Day, it is my hope that we will reassess our own attitudes and begin to look at one another with eyes of empathy, affection and caring. Extend grace. Make someone dinner.
It’s time to simmer down y’all. It’s time to love again. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Stacy Froese Borchardt is a health-care sales representative for a Fortune 100 company in the Valley. She has three boys, three dogs and gets no sleep. She would happily be on any baseball field any day of the week.