With the recent tragedies taking place on the independent islands of Haiti, we are forced to reflect on our lives and our relationships with the ones around us. A well-known song by Stevie Wonder asks us "when was the last time, that they heard you say, mother, or father I love you?" Seeing the faces of the now mother or father-less children that cloak the streets of Port Au Prince, or looking at a mother as she frantically searches for her son, forces tears to even the coldest heart.
When you first hear the story of the man who searched the streets of Haiti for six days in an attempt to find his missing wife, you are instantly softened to his plight & sorry for thinking, on the inside, that she is no longer among the living; but it isn't until you see the face of the desperate husband as he waits for machines to clear a path, that you really are able to identify with his pain. His wife Jeannette is alive and he knows it.
Imagine being on the hunt for your loved one: searching desperately through the streets as you look for someone who may or may not be there once you find them. You would be forced to think of the first time you saw them, you would hear them saying your name, hear their laugh, see their smile in your head. You would instantly recall your last moment together. What did they say to you? What did you say to them?
Did you tell them that you like the shirt they wore that day? Did you tell them that you dreamed of them the night before? Did you smile at them? When they asked you to grab them an orange from the refrigerator on your way past the kitchen did you get it or pretend that you didn't hear? Did you hug them? Kiss them? Did you tell them you are happy that they are apart of your life? Did you tell them that you loved them?
We often forget to cherish those who are closest to us. As we grow older and begin to establish our lives, we forget the important things. We send tweets and texts to say happy birthday. We give wall posts to the friend we haven't talked to since summer rather then picking up the phone to call. It becomes a scheduled task to phone our grandmothers and as the years go on, we find that we only speak to our once-favorite uncle on his birthday and at Christmas.
Don't find yourself in a tragedy wishing you could turn back the hands of time. Rest with confidence at night knowing that your family and your friends know what love you have for them. Never let anger mask love. Find a way to reconcile even if that means saying "I'm sorry" when you don't think you were wrong.
Find the time to love your loved ones. Spend a weekend with your niece, drive your cousin to college after spring break, and call your sister in the morning just to say hi or to share a joke. Always kiss your lover goodnight and never forget to say "I love you."
Ones you say you cherish everyday
Can instantly be taken away
Then you'd say I know this can't be true
When you never took the time
To simply tell them "I love you."
-Stevie Wonder, "These Three Words"