I recently received the unexpected news that three people I love had been in a car accident. The mother and youngest daughter were killed and the second child, 11 years old, was in critical condition. These people are a major part of our spiritual community and youth ministry. I received phone calls and emails filled with shock and sadness. As I sat in the memorial service, I had such a feeling of sadness and loss. The children often ran up to me on a Sunday and showered me with hugs and kisses. I always felt such love and joy during these quick exchanges. Their smiles and joyous ways always filled my heart with warmth and peace.
During the days that followed this news, I became super sensitive to mothers and their children shopping, playing and driving in their cars. Over and over again the thought crossed my mind, “don’t take this love for granted.” That thought consistently moved me into a place of gratitude for the people I love and how much they mean to me. I found myself calling people and leaving “love taps” on their voice mails or simply telling those I contacted how much they mean to me.
I would like to say to you this day, take nothing and no one for granted. We are not guaranteed a long life. There is nothing that says we will be here tomorrow. It is important to remind those who are important to us that their presence in our lives is important and essential. I say pick up the phone, send a letter or a “love you” text, or simply hug someone. These gestures make a world of difference.
I close by reminding you that you are a light in this world. You make a difference because you exist. Your life is necessary and you light up the hearts of people you don’t even know.
Please affirm with me: “Today, I choose to remind those I love that they make a fundamental difference in my life and this world.”