Special day to celebrate all that is love
Love covers a lot of ground.
There is the love between a parent and a child. There’s love for one’s partner, sibling, friend, pet.
There is even the very real love a child feels for a favorite stuffed animal. Any parent who has had to wash that stuffed animal or search frantically for it can attest to that.
Some might say love varies in its degrees — that the love one has for a spouse cannot compare to the love between a tow-headed child and his pretend dinosaur.
The point is noted, but we won’t quibble at this time over such technicalities. Because we feel love, in any of its forms, is essential — now more than ever.
Or maybe it just feels that way. Violence and hatred can end us individually, but we cannot let it take us down collectively. Therein lies the rub. Because it is as individuals that we must make choices that will change all of our lives for the better.
The CBS Evening News ran a story in 2012 on State College postman Mike Herr, known as Mike the Mailman. His kindness to customers over the last four decades has made him a local celebrity.
“My mission is to make them have a little bit of levity on the way out and say, ‘Hey, it’s not so bad after all,'” Herr told CBS News. “This is what I do. I’m just myself, that’s all I can do.”
Herr is humble in his response because the story goes on to tell how his outpouring of love, and in probably the most casual way, has brightened countless lives and influenced one man to conclude that Mike the Mailman probably taught him the most about life.
“It was honestly his example that kind of taught me it’s not what you do in life, but it’s how you do it,” Michael Aitkenhead, a Penn State alumnus, told CBS News.
The story’s author, Steve Hartman, at one point declared that Mike was “pure heart.”
On this Valentine’s Day, let’s take a cue from Mike the Mailman who practices daily, it seems, the popular Bible verse for weddings about love being patient and kind, which is not specific to a husband and wife, but covers the love between all mankind.
By all means, kiss your lover, hug your friend and keep your children close. Buy the flowers, the chocolates, the paper hearts. But don’t forget your neighbor.
Remember, maybe the man taking so long in line in front of you just lost a friend who was serving his country. Maybe a child crying to his mother in the bus seat next to you misses his father who is sleeping on a friend’s couch.
And perhaps the woman who brushed you aside at the checkout counter doesn’t know if she can pay her mortgage this month.
Love will save us. Love can keep us from having to carry alone the weight of this heavy, heavy world we live in.
Today, let’s remember all that ground love can cover. Be kind. Love one another.
And Happy Valentine’s Day.