A Different Kind of Valentine

It’s Valentine’s Day. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard this! Even if you aren’t in a romantic relationship at the moment, you probably think about this holiday in regards to your family and friends. Personally, family is very important in my life. I love spending time with them, even if it’s just watching the kids run around and play!

I came across a photo of my nephew this afternoon that I hadn’t realized I had taken (hey, it happens). He is a hugger – wraps those little arms around you so tightly! I stopped and looked at it for a good bit of time, thinking about his life and praying he can brush off unloving feelings from others he may come across in the future. Josh was born with Down Syndrome, though I rarely think about it anymore. He is smart; he is precocious; he is loving; he loves to read, run, and play. Because he looks a little different around the eyes and he may learn slower than others – does that make him any less loveable? HECK. NO.

I think back to certain times growing up when I, like many, felt a little uncomfortable around those with special needs. Not that I didn’t respect them or didn’t like them – it was that I wasn’t exactly sure how they were different from me. I knew deep down that we were the same, but there might’ve been a language barrier or physical issue that kept us from interacting much, plus a bit of immaturity on my end. I always tried to be friendly and treat them as I’d want to be treated, though I’m sure I could’ve done better.

Now, with wonderful Josh in our lives, my feelings about treating everyone equally have grown much stronger. I’m sharing this photo with you today as a representation. A representation of trying to treat others how you would want to be treated – whomever they may be. This could be a frustrating co-worker, a stranger on the street, a difficult family member, someone with special needs, or any person you meet who is “different” than you. I’m not saying this is an easy task, but what if we really tried? What if we really tried to show kindness and love to those we come across? I’m thinking that a lot of good would come from it.

I hope you take a minute to consider this different kind of valentine today. All you need is love, right? Happy Valentine’s Day!