Love and Horror and Hope....
Valentine's Day this year, the same day that an expelled student took a semi automatic rifle, pulled the fire alarm at his former school to get the kids out into the halls and then gunned down 17 innocent lives, a former high school teacher took 15 dozen long stemmed roses, tied a love note to them and passed them out randomly to the public servants, nurses, teachers and neighbors in his small town.
Lyrics from Burt Bacharach's song "What the World Needs Now" graced each rose.
A timely reminder. Love for everyone.
I was the recipient of a rose. When I asked him why, his answer resonated. It spoke to the day, Valentine's Day, and to the alienation that many high school kids feel.
He said when he was a teacher, every year, the cheerleaders would sell flowers as a Valentine's fundraiser that the kids could then send to friends, significant others or those they hoped might become significant others. He said he always knew which kids would get all the flowers and which kids would not get any. He could empathize with the kids that didn't. About nine or ten years ago he decided to just do something to make up for it.
Really, it was an amazing random act of kindness.
Back nine years ago he decided to get 5 dozen roses- he thought that was a lot- and pass them out.
Each year, the number grew.
About 175 roses this year. He says he's got a system to tagging them, adding the water reservoirs, getting them ready to distribute.
He came into our clinic and passed out roses. Many of the nurses exclaimed "this would be the only rose" they would be getting this year. Some of them teared up. The newer nurses asked"who is this guy?" while the nurses that had been there a while explained "he does this every year".
Most did not know his name.
A beautiful and random act of kindness with perfect timing.
On the day we devote to love, one person trying to counteract the disenfranchisement of many.
Who knows what drives kids to pick up a gun and kill? For many I think it's a feeling that they don't belong. For others, the gun is a symbol of power that eludes them in daily life.
I don't know. I was lucky. I got flowers on Valentine's Day back in high school.
(Now Middle School, that's a whole 'nother story.)
I do know that if I hear "praying for the school/children/world" one more time I will scream.
I have an idea.
How about praying for our government to enact change?
How about voting for change?
How about calling your representatives?
No one wants to take away your hunting rifles.
I'm a Texas girl.
I know tons of hunters. Related to a few.
Not one of them is out hunting deer with a semi-automatic.
And when you have prayed and voted and called?
Go out and perform your own random act of kindness.
I asked. "Who do you think gets more out of it? You or the recipients?"
Figure out the answer for yourself.
Act. Do. Share.
(My random acts of kindness - No. 47 on my list- which seem pretty paltry in comparison....here and here. But you know what? They all count. They all make a difference.)