When I was growing up, every time I had a fight with mom, I would take my bike and cycle off to the grocery store.
I would then park my bike at the playground and lay on the slide under the hot sun with my eyes shut, munching on the Chickadees I had bought.
Sometimes I would fall asleep. Sometimes I would pretend to be a homeless person.
I would wait and wait for mom to come looking for me and beg me to return home… but she never did.
Most of the time I would get tired of waiting (and thirsty as hell), so I’d cycle back home with a heavy heart, having to face mom again. My heart always sank as mom would totally ignore me and continue with her chores.
I remember crawling under the bed and crying, wishing I was born to a different family, a different home.
When it was meal time, mom would stand outside my door and call dad saying it was makan time. She purposely would say it a little louder than usual so I could hear her from under my bed.
Dad was the peacemaker in the family (he still is). He would come get me, wipe my face and give me a big hug. I would hide behind dad as I walked to our dining table with a swollen face and a bitter heart.
But every single time I sat at the table, I would find an array of my favourite food, cooked with much love.
Mom being as stubborn as me would never crack a smile after our arguments but she did make sure I had extra portions of the dishes I loved best. She would heap more rice on my plate and remind me to eat up.
I didn’t usually thank her for making my favourite food nor did I apologise for our silly quarrels, but I always ended up helping her with the dishes later and cutting her favourite fruits for after-dinner snacks.
Growing up, my parents taught me a very valuable lesson – love need not be spoken in words. Love is present in everything else we do.
Today I live in a world which seems to lack love not only in spoken terms but in actions as well.
We have leaders who keep long silences over issues that matter yet take actions that are completely in contradiction to love.
We live in a boxed-up society, amongst people who prefer to mingle with their own kind rather than with all of humanity. People who are frustrated with life and make it a point to publicly display their anger. No words of love, no actions to prove it either.
But we are the ones who form society. And society chooses leaders. Shouldn’t it be our responsibility to stop expecting love and start spreading it instead?
Imagine what our world would be if there was more love around. More smiles and hellos. More considerate drivers. More holding of elevators for others. More family time. More educators, not teachers. More children and parents in the park. More kindness towards animals. More people queuing up, taking turns. More care for public property. More adherence to the law. More people giving in.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful?
But are we capable of loving – especially in this environment where we feel everything we worked so hard for has been stripped off us?
I believe we are.
After all, darkness cannot drive out darkness – only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate – only love can.