The way Ebenezer Scrooge felt about Christmas is the way I feel about Valentine’s Day. Bah, humbug, I say!

In all honesty, I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day because I’ve never had much to celebrate. With a pandemic and a bone-chilling arctic blast making its presence felt in Kansas, this year certainly gave no reason for me to warm up to the idea any more than I had in the past.

And yet, I decided to give Valentine’s Day a chance in 2021 with a little inspiration from a friend. You see, my friend had the idea to stream a marathon of romantic comedies the week leading up to the holiday. Now, I don’t know if I could have stomached the saccharine sweetness of a week full of such films. But one? I could handle that. It wouldn’t hurt to let a feel good movie melt away some of my icy, Scrooge-esque reception toward Feb. 14.

“Last Christmas” was the film I settled on, and I won’t spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen it – other than to say it has a little deeper message than your typical romantic comedy fare. Broaching the subject of “normal” being a bit of a misnomer descriptive and that we are all damaged human beings, the movie culminates in a call to arms of sorts. The lesson it leaves you with is that true happiness is only gained by making attempts to bring happiness to others.

During this bleak midwinter, with a global pandemic still raging, I needed to hear that. Truth be told, I think I’m not the only one who needs to hear that. Whether at wits’ end from all the restrictions in place or perhaps battling a form of seasonal affective disorder due to the extended winter weather, there seems to be a lot of negativity going around at the moment.

I get it. I’ve been there, too. When you’re in quarantine for multiple weeks, you come to the mindset that “everything sucks” pretty quickly.

Having talked to various medical personnel for a number of COVID-related stories, one of the most common things I’ve heard over and over is how people’s collective mental health doesn’t get enough attention at present. The negativity is taking its toll.

While it’s easy to say everything sucks and accept that the storm clouds hanging overhead aren’t going away anytime soon, I think it’s important to also remember the light those storm clouds are blocking is still there.

Perhaps entering the Lenten season had something to do with it, too, but the message of “Last Christmas” resonated loud and clear with me. As easy as it is to zero in on all the negative around us at the moment, bringing happiness to others may help some of the light break through. Heck, that ideology worked wonders for the likes of misers like the Grinch and Scrooge. Maybe, then, that is a lesson worth taking to heart.

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