Friday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is about love and all things heart related. As I listened to the radio today the hosts reminded listeners to remember this important day. They discussed expectations and traditions—chocolates, flowers, and diamonds—that should keep your significant others happy and contented.

I guess this presumes you have someone special to do sweet things for but like the Christmas holiday, this day can be a sad reminder of loss, and unfulfilled hopes and dreams. This year, let’s make this Valentine’s Day a real day of love.

First, list five people you love and cherish. Look at when you’ve been in touch and if it’s been more than three months since you called, do it today. Add two people you have had a rocky relationship and need to make things right with. Send a note of restoration to them—something like “I’ve missed you and would love to have lunch or coffee sometime soon.”

If they don’t respond, move forward knowing you have reached out with the best of intentions.

Second, do at least five random acts of kindness this week. I hate to open my internet browser because I am easily distracted by stories that pop up –Richard Gere’s partner, Prince’s net worth, Elvis is still alive—but today the story I couldn’t resist was about a busy Waffle House waitress who was saving money for college. In a Houston suburb this young woman took a moment from her busy schedule to hear an elderly gentleman who was struggling with his food.

He quietly told her that he needed help cutting his ham. She stopped in the midst of all the order yelling and other requests and did this for him. Unbeknownst to her, another customer sensed something very special happening so she filmed her care and compassion. As usual, this story had a happy ending.

The story went viral and eventually a GoFundMe account was set up and a local college offered a scholarship—all because of one simple act of kindness.

My friends, it would be wonderful if we could wave a magic wand and fix all that’s wrong in the world but the only wand we have is a willing heart and helping hands. Don’t miss an opportunity to use them. Little things really matter—a smile, holding the door, a kind word, offering your turn to someone else… This Valentine Day let kindness and care be your wand.

Third, let’s lift our leaders in prayer all day. Whether you’re in favor of impeachment, this candidate or that one, pray. Our nation is divided and the climate is volatile, chaotic, mean, and hateful, and I just can’t see that God would be pleased with the way we treat and talk about our neighbors and those we disagree with. One person’s courage is another’s disgust. Nevertheless, appreciating difference and respect for others is what I’m advocating today.

We are unique and we have different opinions and all kinds of bumpy and straight roads that brought us to them—let us respect that variety and embrace it. We can be civil and disagree without being disagreeable. If your opinion and mine are not the same that doesn’t make you stupid or unworthy—it simply means you dance to the beat of another drum. Difference makes the world go round.

Finally, share love with someone who’s alone or who recently suffered a loss. Listen carefully and actively and hear not just what’s being said but what’s not. Hearts are for sharing – share yours this Valentine Day and every day.

Share your heart, and thoughts, with me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

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. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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