February Is Rocky, But Nice And Short

February has gotten off to a dizzying start and I’m struggling to keep up. Between politics, COVID, ice storms, tornadoes, and plain ol’ living, I need to get up earlier and do more while I’m up.

With January job numbers out, more jobs were added but everywhere I go, there are “Help Wanted” and “Hiring” signs on the doors and bathroom walls, however, I haven’t seen stories or statistics that explain what the impact of 900,000 people dying from COVID might look like.

We’re feeling this loss directly and indirectly. These folks cooked, cleaned, cared for grandbabies and grandparents, fixed roofs—made the world go round. Further, when we deport people who do the dirty work, the dirty work goes undone.

We’ve bought into the rhetoric about “people don’t want to work.” Yes, there is probably somebody getting rich on welfare and unemployment checks, but by the time we find them, this century will be half over. Certainly, any time there is an opportunity for fraud and corruption, somebody will take it and live large until they get caught.

The people who were struggling at first, probably still are, however, work has several benefits. We work because we need the money, but there’s also the pride that comes when we do work that matters, and when we invest our best efforts to produce goods and services (sounds like a recruitment brochure doesn’t it?). Dignity, respect, and investing in our families and communities are important too.

A recent report showed that paying for daycare is like paying for college, and with inflation, spotty elder and childcare, even folks who would work if they had the foundational support, aren’t and can’t afford to.

During last week’s ice storm our power was off and the temperature in our house dropped to bone chilling numbers. I swore I’d never take electricity, warmth, and the convenience of flipping a light switch for granted again. Trying to keep our fireplace warm (though it was supposed to be the other way around) became a full-time job.

I thought about the people whose homes were destroyed by fire, floods, natural disasters, high rents—whatever, and I realized that random acts of kindness I’d be advocating for February 17 would make a nice treat now.

Random acts are nice but being intentionally kind is better. We could be more patient and sensitive, make that call you keep putting off, or send that check to the Salvation Army whose work is much broader than Red Kettle bell ringing.

We could donate socks, coats, gloves, and underwear to places that serve those in need or donate canned meat and vegetables to the food bank. Now’s the time to think long and hard about what we enjoy and offer that for others.

I’ve decided February is too short to have so many reasons to celebrate—National Heart, Black History, and Library Lovers Month, Super Bowl 56, Valentine’s Day, and one of my favorites: National Make a Friend Day.

Each designation needs its own column/month, but February is an ideal time to marry books and friends–to gain new, cool relationships and support entities like Friends of the Library.

These friendly volunteers love and respect libraries and books as much as I do and they work tirelessly to ensure every library is the best it can be following the adage “So goes the library, so goes the town.”

Proverbs 18:24 reminds us to have friends, we must show ourselves friendly. With books and civility under assault, and Valentine’s Day coming soon, may its love and caring lead the way to new friends and new books.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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