Today, Marcy Pruitt is back with a follow-up to a Southern Voice article from two years ago.
Part 2: What if Valentine’s Day was Random Acts of Kindness Day?
Have you ever been disappointed in your romantic life, especially on Valentine’s Day, or experienced joy just because someone noticed or did something kind for you out of the blue? Here’s a story you might relate to and leave you asking, “What if Valentine’s Day was Random Acts of Kindness Day?” My (part one) story happened on Valentine’s Day 2018.
I had just moved to the city, sold everything I owned and was completely starting over as a mid-life, empty-nested, single woman in the midst of a career change. It was a big transition in life, and I was tired. I was also learning a lot on this journey as I traveled the unknown road. It was Valentine’s Day, and I had fun plans with a recent connection. However, two hours before dinner, our plans changed unexpectedly. There was a lot going on in his world, too. I understood but was still feeling pretty sorry for myself.
I didn’t want to sit at home alone. With some courage on loan, I decided to stay the course, just by myself. Looking back, I realized I felt very embarrassed because even though carrying out the plans alone felt like the big thing to do at that moment, Valentine’s Day had a definition to me that required a couple. Emotions were raw and confusing and made me want to stay in the corner and remain unseen. “Just get through the night and treat yourself well,” I told myself.
After listening to live music and eating a late-night dinner solo in an empty restaurant, my server informed me my meal had been paid in advance. Shocked and confused, I doubled checked and realized I was the only one in the restaurant at closing time. No one on staff had paid the tab, and the staff person who took the payment was gone. A random act of kindness from someone who noticed me when I didn’t want to be noticed. It felt like a lifeline at the moment.
So what is the lesson here?
A change in perspective at this stage of life creates a clearer focus. What action does this perspective require to experience how I now know love to be? I decided to be a student and follow my experience since it opened my heart to a broader perspective of love. Thank God for the way he grows our hearts. Now, I see Valentine’s Day as “Kind Love Day.” Showing love to those inside my circle as well as those outside my circle. Valentine’s Day will never have gray on it anymore. I have all kinds of people to love, no matter if I’m single or coupled. Participating by carrying on with random acts of kindness gives me all the freedom to express love in its truest definition. I get to design my own Valentine’s Day. And you can, too.
Last year I extended two random acts of kindness, and this year I will do three. I’ve also realized I can give the gift of love to anyone at any time. I now like that February can be a month to focus on loving-kindness, no matter our romantic situation. It’s about making someone smile the way we did in grade school when we slipped the little valentine to someone and stood in the shadows to watch them smile. Perhaps you can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond. I’m still learning this, and I mess up often, but knowing I can use these life lessons to see life through a different lens feels amazing.
Perhaps many of us need a change of perspective to make February 14 more than Valentine’s Day. It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day for me.
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