As we have entered into February and Saint Valentines Day is coming up, it was only natural for me to begin thinking about love. But not in the romantic sense. Whilst this also applies, I'm referring more so to how we love ourselves and show love to others. For how we love really does determine how happy we are, and how meaningful life is.
When I decided to write about love, I went to my bookshelf to read through one of my books about Mother Teresa. I haven’t looked at this book in many years and the name of the book was ironically “Love”. Reading through her book, it occurred to me just how simple her messages of love and kindness were and so I couldn’t help wonder why they are so difficult to put into practice.
This baffles me at times because I have a mother who loves unconditionally. And how, I don’t know. If anyone had good reason to hate the world and the people in it, it was her. But she chose differently.
Many years ago, our family suffered a great tragedy. Some would say one of the greatest tragedies any parent could go through. They lost a child. My brother Adrian, a twin to my sister, drowned at the age of 4. My family was devastated by this loss, and whilst the wounds heal, the scar forever remains – a scar our entire family wears. But whilst there is pain and a lifelong feeling that we, our family, will never be complete, that there is always someone missing, my mother has continued to love. Continued to smile. To be kind, thoughtful and forgiving. Many times I have sat in my own grumpy state and thought to myself – “Get over it Jessica. If she (mum) can keep smiling, loving and giving, then so can I”.
There is nothing more confronting than loss. The reality is, we will all face that fateful day. And so this begs the question – Why be angry? Why get caught up in the little things? When will you let yourself be happy? And in doing so, share that happiness, that love, with others? Because at the end of the day, we only have this moment, right here right now. This breath. And my friends, they do end.
And so whilst Saint Valentines Day is a good reminder of love, why not make a commitment to show love for more than this one-day of the year. Buying flowers for your partner once a year and then neglecting them for the rest of the year is not love. It is guilt. Rather, make the effort to show love every moment of every day of every year you have the good fortune of being on this Earth. Love to your partner, to your children, your animals and toward strangers. Be the example and through love, join us in making this world a kinder place. Mother Teresa spoke of love as though it were simple. The reality is, it is simple. To love is not hard and does not have to be complicated. We just have to try and choose better.
A final note…
To my mother, Christine – Thank you for being the beautiful soul you are. Your love has helped shape me into the woman I am today. Whilst we live apart, our bond has only grown stronger for true love cannot be broken. Thank you for being my pillar of strength. You are nothing short of incredible. I love you mum.
To our dearest Adrian, you are forever in our hearts. Without your even realizing, we have all learned so much from you. You loved life and would have given anything to be with us a little longer. But that was not to be. And so in your memory, we are doing our best to live to the full and not take this gift of life for granted. We love you so much.
Sending loving hugs to you all,