Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Better Valentine's Day

When David Bowie passed away not too long ago along with Alan Rickman within a couple of days of that, I was reminded again of the curious response of people pouring forth their sentiments of how these individuals impacted their lives and yet never mentioning it ever before that moment.

Bowie released his album on the Friday and not one person had mentioned in conversation or on Facebook anything about his new album. He dies and suddenly it's considered a masterpiece. I wonder if he hadn't died if that sentiment would come forth.

Hear me clearly, I think that people are sincere when they say they appreciate their heroes when they pass. I believe that people are not just fooling themselves when they say his final album was amazing. What is curious to me is how often you rarely hear about the impact a person has on one's life until that person is dead.

Now, I'm sure Mr. Bowie and Mr. Rickman were aware of how much people loved the work they produced and they had some idea of the impact they had. However, I want to bring it closer to home. Just like when the impact of faraway celebrities is rarely mentioned until their death, I see it the same with people in everyday life. It's not until the funeral when praise is lavished upon the individual for all their great qualities and accomplishments and impact. Does that person you admire for their honesty or hard work or kindness know that you hold them in such regard? I think it is often easy to neglect such a simple form of encouragement. We always believe that we will have time later. Or perhaps we don't believe it to be a worthwhile endeavour.

I think that's stupid. People are not going to benefit from your kind words once they're dead.

So what are we to do? How do you find a way to remind and push yourself to encourage another or to uphold people?

I believe the answer lies within what humans have done to help remind themselves. Use a reminder. Mark a special day to do it. Christmas reminds us of hope. New Year's reminds us that we can change. Remembrance Day reminds us of the depths of sacrifice. Thanksgiving reminds us of how we should be grateful for all that we have. I've heard the argument that these are attitudes and actions that we should do throughout the year and not relegate it to one day. I agree with that. However, life goes along and it is all too easy to forget these beautiful ideas and to raise it to the social consciousness to remind ourselves of the ideas that we hold important as a society.

I think encouragement for one another is a beautiful idea that is often forgotten.

My vote for a day to encourage people is Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day in North American tradition has been about expressing the depths of your love for another. It has always been about a romantic love which is nice, but hardly scratches the surface of the breadth of love. It also alienates many people who are not in a romantic relationship.

Wouldn't it be great if Valentine's Day was a day about expressing the depths of our love for one another but not just the romantic kind? What if it was also a day where you call or message or meet with two or three or twenty people that have impacted your life and inspire you? Wouldn't it be great to share your love of artists and heroes with people?

The best part is, that this day opens up for everyone. People without a romantic connection can be included. You can encourage people that maybe overlooked and would be overlooked for their whole lives.

Sure, it would be great if this happened all year, but it can hard to do that without a reminder.

So, my encouragement to you to contact a small selection of people in your life and express to them your care for them. Post on Facebook about artists and heroes that inspire you.

Make Valentine's Day about love.

"Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen
I've got drama, can't be stolen
Everybody knows me now."
- "Lazarus" from the David Bowie album "Blackstar"

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