This is Love
Love is a word we use so often in the English language that we sometimes forget the power and force behind what it means to truly love. I love chocolate, but I also love my husband. I love sunshine but I also love my family. In our current culture, people fall in and out of love with their crushes, their favourite foods, their favourite bands, and their spouses. Love is used to describe everything from nail polish colours to sex. What does it really look like?I remember hearing someone say that ‘love is a commitment and choice’. That’s true – it is both of those. It’s a choice because no one can make us love someone or something; it has to come from within us. Love is also a commitment because, in its truest sense, it is ultimately about relationships – and we all know what kind of commitment relationships require. But I am beginning to think that sometimes, when we choose to love, we are doing it for something greater than even commitment or choice. I think sometimes we love for the sheer beauty of what that love is capable of accomplishing.We haven’t yet been able to figure out her name, but because it is Christmas, I would like to call her “Mary” in honour of a Jewish woman who lived long ago and who loved so much that it changed the course of history. “Mary” first met Cole last week when he was delivering Christmas gifts to an orphanage we had recently discovered in Port-au-Prince. There are 110 children there, living in a very large house. They are the poorest of the poor: they sleep on mats on the floor, their clothing is threadbare and their situation is deplorable. In the short amount of time they had, Cole and Frantzo brought them gift bags and supplies. As they were preparing to leave, they took a quick tour around the cramped property, assessing what the needs were. When they got to the back of the house, they found a cinderblock shack with a tin roof. It was five feet by five feet. Beside the shack was “Mary” and a small boy taking a shower. As they smiled shyly at Frantzo and Cole from behind the wall, there was something evidently different with the little boy, but they couldn’t discern what it was.The head of the orphanage, David, came out and stood beside them and introduced them to Mary and the boy with her. Mary is probably 70 years old. She has tired, kind eyes, weary and weathered hands, and as they talked she held a protective arm around the young boy. The boy is not her biological grandson. He was a total stranger when she first found him. But when she found him she knew she loved him, and from that moment forward, that love became something beautiful and pure. In fact, it became what helped that little boy to survive – because Mary found him in the garbage dump. He had been abandoned there as a newborn baby, and he had most likely sustained injuries and deprivations that have led to him being mentally challenged for the rest of his life. He would have died there were it not for Mary’s kindness, but now he has a future. To you and me it may not look like much, but when you are loved and you are safe, your future is beautiful and bright.Mary, her ‘grandson’, the 110 children in the home, and the other 50 children in Kay Papa Nou are all enjoying the gifts that we brought them this past weekend in Port-au-Prince. They were gifts that were made possible because of the generosity of our friends and philanthropists in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). Thank you. Your love helped us spread the love this Christmas, and that love is a beautiful thing.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is returning to Haiti in May for another Hero Holiday and we will be working to help many people like Mary. You can join us! Check out www.livedifferent.com.Merry Christmas!