Balloon Out Love
In Galveston, I had a quirky tour guide with flowing blonde hair and sunglasses at night. He was off topic more than he was on and I didn’t mind. I was along for the ride, listening to his stories until the last stop. “Valentines Day: every woman’s favorite holiday. Am I right, men?” He elaborated on how women like to feel loved “yadda yadda yadda.” I don’t remember; I’d stopped listening. His glance returned to me, expecting more smiles and nodding. I shot him my stone face. He corrected, “Well maybe not all women.”
I wanted to jump in and explain that Valentine’s IS one of my favorite holidays, but not for the reasons you assume, Sir! I wanted to tell him the story about my dad and the balloons!
Pre-cell phones, we waited, and worried, for over an hour at the Chinese restaurant. My Dad was late for our family’s Valentine dinner. Turns out he saw a man get into a vehicle with an incredible bouquet of balloons. My Dad followed the man until he stopped, then leapt out of the car and asked where he could buy the creations for his family. Sure, he was late to dinner, but I still remember my shiny, mylar butterfly inside the clear heart.
My parents didn’t go off and celebrate their love separately; they included us. We shared our love and we were encouraged to give gifts and cards to others in our life. Yes. Yes. I’ve heard the “singles awareness day” jokes about this holiday and absolutely understand. The season can single out singles. I know the heart-pang and wishing that comes with seeing someone receive flowers. However, honestly, even when I’ve had a “Valentine” I sincerely took the greatest delight in seeking out the sweet friends and people in my life that I wanted to share intentional love with. This means baristas, kind gas station attendants, siblings. When I have a significant other in my life, I don’t see February as the only season to share their significance. I do, however, see the love month as a chance to remember my parent’s model and “balloon out” intentional care. My first Valentine’s article, One Rule to Heart, goes into more detail on intentional inclusivity.
I wish I could give that tour guide some guidance. It’s too late to set him straight, but not too late to hold open conversation about living out the love that we have around us. What are ways you “balloon out care” and seek to delight others? Personally, I love to hand out treats and write letters.
My most recent project, #LiveOutLove, allows everyone to spread love by writing letters to those who’d appreciate extra sunshine. Our first week we wrote notes via Love for the Elderly (an organization founded by a high school boy named Jacob!) The other weeks, and other live-out-love ideas, are open for suggestions in the Facebook event: Online #LiveOutLove. I would love us to share pictures and ideas, use the hashtag and make #LiveOutLove BALLOON into a “movement”! I support you and am alongside you in whatever you do to share care in your corner of the world.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)
-Take courage in delight. Discover power in small moments.