In this time of a seemingly-never-ending pandemic, Valentine’s Day is bound to be different for many of us. Those who are couples may miss the traditional dinners-out, romantic get-aways, and other such expressions of their undying affection.
But what if there was an easy, heartfelt way for all of us – singles as well as couples – to honor Valentine’s Day. A way to express love in a safe, non-COVID threatening way, not just to our sweetheart, but to the many others in our world that we hold dear. It’s putting love into action by simply saying, “Thank you.”
Take Ana Reyes, for example, who some 40 years later (!), tracked down her first grade teacher, Mrs. Harkleroad (with the help of the Kentucky Department of Education), to thank Mrs. Harkleroad for giving her the skills that led to Ana’s professional success as a lawyer. Ana immigrated to Kentucky from Spain and Uruguay as a toddler, and struggled to learn the language of her new country. Upon noticing this, Mrs. Harkleroad came to school an hour early every day to tutor Ana in English. Ana was an avid learner, and learned fast. From those early school days, Ana went on to achieve her law degree from Harvard, as well as a Master’s in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University. Mrs. Harkleroad, now 77, was moved to tears by the letter of thanks Ana read to her – truly love in action.
Saying “thank you,” may seem simplistic, even meaningless. Just a phrase you whip off out of politeness. But “thank you,” when truly felt and expressed genuinely, is far more than that. It’s letting someone know that you recognize what they did for you as being meaningful, as impacting your life in a positive way, however large or small that may have been. Acknowledging that in some way, they loved you. They respected and honored you as a worthwhile human being, even if it was just in serving you a latte. Saying “thank you” loves them back.
So this Valentine’s Day, let “thank you” be how you express your love and appreciation to as many people as you can in your world. It doesn’t matter whether you thank someone verbally, or in a text, email, letter or Voicemail. Whether it’s just two words, or a passionate pages-long outpouring of gratitude, “thank you” is always valuable. Perhaps even more so in these pandemic days, when we all could do with a little more love.