It’s Valentine’s Day — a time when people across the nation celebrate romance with that special someone.
For those of us who are single, the day can either be a time to mourn our relationship status or to show appreciation for the other types of affection that surround us, such as brotherly love.
As a child, I was a big fan of the show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” My mom tells me that I loved to watch it every day, which may explain my affinity for sweaters. Admittedly now the show is a little too mellow for my taste, but I still go about singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” from time to time.
I think Fred Rogers was onto something with that song. The idea of treating everyone in a neighborly way is a very beautiful concept. And sometimes, we get to see it in action.
This week local churches in Walnut Cove are embarking on a 40-day program to pray for the town, and they kicked it off by sharing pulpits on Sunday. Events like these give people of faith an opportunity to emphasize their similarities instead of their differences. They don’t totally discount other denominations because they have minor doctrinal differences. I think that qualifies as being a good neighbor and treating each other with brotherly and sisterly love.
Too often we get caught up in fights over our differences. So what if a person does not hold the exact same religious belief that you do or is not affiliated with the same political party. Everyone should be treated with respect, because we all bring some value to society.
This week I know a lot of people are upset over various bills in the state legislature or what President Obama did or didn’t say during his State of the Union address. I can understand people’s need to express their concerns for our state and nation, but I cannot applaud the mean-spirited way that some people choose to do so. By all means, stand up for what you believe in, but don’t do so in a way that is hateful to others. If we respond calmly with kindness, maybe then we can find common ground.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Donna Fargo — “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA” — when a Mount Airy highway was dedicated in her honor.
Fargo said something that continues to stick with me. She said, “I believe that life is all about being the best you that you can be and living your life in a spirit of cooperation with others.”
That spirit of cooperation is the first step in learning to love our neighbors, no matter how different from us they may be. And it is what will help our communities and nation see lasting and positive change that will make each Valentine’s Day a little better than the last.