In the devastated streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, there is a picture of 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. Every day people fall in and out of love with their crushes, their favourite foods, their favourite bands and their favourite pair of shoes. 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. 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. Just like Mary.
We found love in a desparate place
At the end of a quiet street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is a very large house. It is rundown and in need of many repairs. But don’t be fooled by the outside: inside of it are 110 earthquake orphans in a house full of love. They are the poorest of the poor: they sleep on mats on the floor, their clothing is threadbare and their situation is deplorable. Our Live Different team was there to drop off Christmas gift bags for all of them. While touring the property, around the back of the house, they found a cinder-block shack with a tin roof. Beside the shack was a woman named Mary.
Mary is probably 70 years old. She has tired, kind eyes and weary and weathered hands, and as they talked she held a protective arm around a young boy who is mentally challenged.
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 is because of Mary that the little boy survived at all—she found him in the garbage dump. He had been abandoned there as a newborn baby and would have died there had it not been for Mary’s kindness.
Now he has a future because of her love. To you and me it may not look like much, but when you are loved and you are safe your future can be beautiful and bright.
I get to meet many awesome people like Mary all over the world and each time I meet a “Mary” I think about how many people I know at home who are like her, especially in the high schools I get to work in. Maybe you are one of them and maybe you don’t even know it yet. Maybe you are capable of leaving that kind of an imprint on someone’s life when they need it the most. Maybe you and I can learn from someone like Mary, although we may never see her face to face: when you make it your goal to give love to the world, your life will never be empty of what that love can accomplish. Thanks Mary.
Anyone can take a Hero Holiday—even you!
Each year, hundreds of Canadian teens join Live Different on a Hero Holiday: building houses, schools and children’s homes in developing countries. To learn more about how to go on a Hero Holiday, how to bring an Absolute presentation to your school, or just find out more about how you can get involved, check out livedifferent.com.
Check out more from Christal Earle at her blog, yourbrillianceunlimited.com.