Has it ever happened to you as a child that whenever you had your favorite dish before you, the best “chunky” ingredient was saved for the last bite?

I know someone who singled out all the green olives of a particular pasta sauce and saved them at the side of her plate so she could eat them last. I have another friend who fished out all the lychees from his mother’s famous fruit salad so he could savor all that soft juicy flavor of his favorite fruit all in one go at the end of his meal. Whoever taught us to save the best for the last?

Now, let me ask you: How many times have you done a similar thing in your youth only to be frustrated because a brother or sister or even a parent passing by or chancing upon your plate thought you have set your “goodies” aside because you did not want them? Just before you had the chance to cry out “Wait!” or the annoyed “AWWWW!” your favorite thing is in somebody else’s mouth and stomach.

You probably cannot guess what I am trying to drive at but let me tell you how simple my point is. This whole practice is like love! If you love someone you must show it NOW. You cannot save all that love and think to yourself that someday you will have the chance to express it.

You cannot keep waiting for a special occasion like Christmas or a loved one’s birthday to show your appreciation or admiration for that loved one. In fact, sometimes, almost instinctively we feel this sudden urge to call someone for no definite reason but to say “Hi” or “I am thinking of you!” Why should you let self-consciousness get in the way? Why think the other person will find you strange calling simply to say “Hi”? Why let fear or shyness, or supposed embarrassment get in the way? If you let that sudden urge to express love go unexpressed at the moment you feel it, it may just go away. The kind deed may just remain a good intention forever. That is not the worst part.

The worst part is if the loved one goes away or another chance to show him or her just how much you care may never come again.

Love is such a basic and strong emotion and indeed it does make the world go round. It can bring a tremendous
amount of energy to the disconsolate, the weak and the lonely. Yet if unexpressed or repressed, it can drive some people to take their very lives. Love that is not expressed can sometimes make life lose its meaning and its luster.

I was told that the airlines have to pay fines when their mechanics are found negligent in any way. This is understandable because we all know that a slight mistake on their part endangers lives. The slightest indifference alone is already too much. If we can say this is perfectly understandable for aviation mechanics, why can’t we see this urgency in our loving one another?

Why must we postpone that visit to the hospital? Why can’t we make time for our senile 89-year-old grandmother this afternoon? Why can’t we finally smile at that person we have been avoiding making simple eye contact with for years? Why can’t we say “Thank you” or “I love you” to Daddy everyday before he leaves for work? Why? Is it because we believe there is time? Is it because we believe that tomorrow will come soon enough? Is it because we believe that there are more important things to do? Is it because we think Daddy will come back tonight? What if he doesn’t? There goes that wonderful chance. Lost for ever. Didn’t St. Paul declare “the greatest of these is love..”? Didn’t Christ say the greatest commandment is this:” Love one another as I have loved you”? Didn’t Jesus also say that “Greater love no man has than to lay down his life for his friend”? I am not asking you to literally die for all those you love. I am just reminding you how crucial time is. It could only be a minute or two of your day. If hurts you a little to give it, then there is that dying that Christ talks about? Sooner or later the “dying” is the beauty of it.

Every second counts! In loving, just like in aviation mechanics, even the slightest indifference is already too much. The minute lost in consoling or counseling a friend contemplating abortion could mean losing that child and worse, the possible deprivation of two souls’ chance to be with God forever. It only takes one statement like “I do not want to talk to you”, to someone so deeply wounded and that person can go away and take his very life. Your indifference or lack of expression can drive another child into the streets or an abandoned child into the wrong hands every minute you delay.

Yet what would it cost you to hear someone out even just for a minute? As long as you are really there, totally present to that person, truly listening to him, whether what he is saying makes that much sense to you or not. How much of your life’s precious time is wasted if you volunteered your services to a group that reaches out to any of the underprivileged just two hours a week? Two hours a week. What is that in comparison to eternity Sometimes all it takes is to hang in there with the ones you love, even just in silence. Presence counts. Every minute counts. Love now. Don’t wait.

Just as you may have learned not to save all those goodies for the last bite and risk someone taking it away from you or do anything to make sure that an erring mechanic or an ill-prepared physician gets justice for a task done haphazardly or wrongly, please, see the urgency in loving NOW. You could make the difference.

Jesus Our Light

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