Over the last few years, at times I’ve been driven to ask those I come into contact with, when was the last time you heard the words I love you?
Last Christmas season, I was speaking at a youth homeless shelter in Toronto. There was a young man in attendance, sitting in the back of the room. His name was Chris and he was 21 years old. As a group, we discussed the topics of self-worth, and seeing the value in yourself. Based on his fidgeting, the conversation brought Chris to a place that he wasn’t comfortable in. A place of openness and vulnerability.
“I have a question for you” I say to the group. “When was the last time you heard the words, I love you?”
There was a bit of a pause, then someone responded, “yesterday”. Someone else answered, “a few days ago”. Chris stayed quiet while he adjusted in his seat.
He eventually spoke out. “I heard it from my mom!”
I thanked Chris for his answer, but readdressed the initial question that was asked. When was the last time you heard the words I love you?
Chris paused again, then finally answered, “Maybe 5 years ago”.
Chris, a young man whose untold story finds him in a homeless shelter, also hasn’t had someone look at him and tell him that they genuinely love him since he was 16 years old.
So at that moment I looked at Chris and told him that I loved him.
Now, I know what you I might be thinking. Why would I tell Chris who is pretty much a stranger to me, that I loved him?
My friends, we live in a world that we (as humans) can be so quick to hate! I’m very aware that some people hate me based on the colour of my skin. Rival gangs hate each other based on nothing more than living in a rival postal code. People hate each other for to religious differences, because of political alliances, due to the career we choose. We humans can truly be some hateful beings.
So if we can be so quick to hate, then why can’t we also be quicker to love?
I looked at Chis and told him I loved him. I loved him for who he was about to become in this world. I also loved him for the impact he would have on generations to come.
If your reading this, and perhaps haven’t heard those three magical words in a while, I want you to know that I LOVE YOU! I love you for the impact your amount to make. For the lives you can change because you give the world the best of you. I love you because you are deserving of love. Now take some of that love and share it with others.
Be a light in a world that is sometimes full of darkness. You never know if that person that you sit beside on the bus, that friend you’ve known for years, or that Stanger who handed you that coffee at the drive thru, you never know the last time that they actually felt loved. Maybe using the words ‘I love you’ isn’t appropriate for every situation, but showing love is expected in every situation.