Should I wear red today, I thought as I looked at the stack of sweaters in my closet. Red is cliché. You know what, I will.
I laid out my clothes then climbed back into bed. I passed time flipping through social media posts on my phone. A direct message interrupted me at 6:35 am. It said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend;” The simple and sweet note came from someone I’ve been friends with since I was 14 years old.
I’m not one for grand proclamations of love, unnecessary gifts or displays of affection, I thought. However, the note was a good start to the day.
It inspired me to send a funny Valentine’s Day video to my mom and two of her friends, who’ve now become my friends. One of them quickly responded with a loving message. I replied, “I figured laughter was the best way to spread love.”
I arrived at work and dropped gummy candy off for a co-worker I know loves them. Then I headed to my desk. I could see if red tops on my co-workers as I approached.
I got a Valentine from Sara who works overnight. Carmin gave me three bags of Valentine’s Day themed candy to share. Tara shared homemade heart shaped cookies. Diana brought a box of Whitman’s chocolates. And, more importantly, Steve gave me the gift of time. He listened to a press and logged it for me. It was the most joyous start to a work day than I’ve had in years.
Hopped up on sugar, I dived into my assignments. One of the first one was with Timothy Cardinal Dolan. His message to the faithful was that celebrating Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday don’t conflict because they’re both about love. He said today is about fresh starts, repenting for transgressions, expressing gratitude, and telling those we love we need them.
For the first time in years, I want to go to an Ash Wednesday mass, I thought. I’ve received so much in my life from others. Today is a perfect example. I want to make a sacrifice to try to repay a fraction of the love shown to me from above and the people that surround me.
Read Days 1-44: https://nikabeamon.com
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