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floydpI'm a people watcher. True confession. Not in a spooky stalker kind of way. I simply find people fascinating. I like to get to know them, but I also watch people in a social setting and their interactions and reactions. I think it may be a German thing that I inherited. Some of you may have seen houses in a small German village and the house is almost right on the street, and in the second or third story there is an open window, and you can see an elderly woman or man standing, sitting by, or leaning out of the window and watching the world go by.

That could easily be me in another time and life. I often go for a walk on a park trail near my house and I am usually listening to a favorite podcast. If it is nice weather, there are others on the trail; and it is an interesting study to see which demographics will look up and smile, say hi, or at least acknowledge that we are passing each other. There are always some who will only look down and will not make eye contact. Whenever I encounter someone, I wonder what their story is. Are they happy or sad? Is something bothering them? Do they even realize that I’m walking past them? Do they need a friendly smile? 

We live in a society, in a community. So often we are looking for a connection to others, searching for a commonality that might exist. What do the passersby have on their minds? I’m trying to get my miles in, within a certain amount of time. They might be doing the same or they may also be listening to something on their phone. So, I rarely stop to chat. Occasionally, if I encounter someone I’ve seen before and they are walking their dog (pets are always a good excuse for conversation), I’ll make a comment about the dog, the weather, or something appropriate. People generally like being remembered or acknowledged...or at least that is my premise. 

February is the month associated with remembering someone you care about. Businesses capitalize on making a fortune on one day of the year by selling cards, candies, and trinkets. They play on the consciences of those who wonder if they did enough during the year to show their love, devotion, and care to the people they love. This puts a lot of pressure on folks. Will my true love feel more loved if I buy the card that costs $8.99 instead of the one that only costs $1.99? Should I buy the HUGE red heart box filled with an assortment of candy, or is the small box filled with Hersey kisses sufficient to say, “I love you”? Should we have to put a price tag on love? Can one even really put a price tag on love? 

The point is to show that one cares whether it is for one’s “True Love” or the person you meet on a walk or someone reaching out to you. A better solution could be that we show our affection and feelings for those we care about every day of the year. But not only to those we already love, but also to those who share the same space on this earth with us. So, as this month of recognition of our love for a special person rolls around, let us remember it is not about receiving the recognition but about giving it to those who least expect it. By all means, get your sweetheart a token of your love for them; but also spread some of God’s true love for others by giving a smile and saying “Hello” to a stranger who might need to know that another person cares enough to notice them. 

Know that you are very special to SDA Kinship and only you can fill the part you do to complete the SDA Kinship picture of our diverse community. If you see me (or anyone else) sitting in that window watching the world go by, be sure to wave and give me a smile. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

— Floyd Poenitz, President
    Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc.

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