It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death."
- Thomas Mann
An acquaintance of mine passed away. No one's completely sure why yet, but they suspect an illness that got out of hand.
Anytime I saw him he looked miserable. Slumped in a bar stool, quiet, drinking, eyes deep in space. I sensed he was going through some deep pain, but I never said, "Hey, I know we don't know each other that well, but if you need to talk I'm a great listener."
One night my husband and I went out with a group of friends for pizza. This man was there and I felt so bad for him because he was the only one without a partner. He came alone and sat quietly, cracking a smile every now and then. And when everyone had left except my husband and I, he continued to sit in his chair...just staring. My husband asked how he was and he mumbled something about having been better and we left it at that.
I remember thinking, this man is so very troubled. We should talk to him more.
But we didn't.
I never reached out because I was afraid. I thought, if he hadn't listened or reached out to good friends, why would he reach out to a stranger?
I feel sad that he was hurting in silence. I feel sad that, whatever was going on in his life, it consumed him.
Death reminds me that we must love at all times, even when it's scary. Even when we don't know the person. Even if if their life story is a mess and we don't want to read it. We must love now and we must love all because people slip away too easily. We must love our friends and family and strangers while they're here, even in their darkest moments. Especially in their darkest moments.
So let us love while we can. Let us reach out to the happy and the sad. Let us smile and hug and give spontaneous kisses. Let us just be there for someone, even if only to listen and hold her hand.
Your life is your message. Let it be one of love.