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Coronavirus pandemic reminds us to tell people we love them

By Simone Talma Flowers
Special to the American-Statesman
Simone Talma Flowers is the executive director of Interfaith Action of Central Texas.

I woke up this morning humming the beautiful words of the song written by Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison:  “Have I told you lately, that I love you, have I told you there’s no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness, ease my troubles that’s what you do. ... At the end of the day we should give Thanks and praise to the one, to the one…” 

One thing I have learned about life in my short time here on Earth and solidified through our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, is that life is uncertain. Each day is new. There is abundant love, and there is joy, but there is also fear and hate.

Life is filled with dualities. In the midst of my greatest joy, someone somewhere is experiencing their greatest sorrow. Even in this duality, I say we should not stop doing what we are moved to do or called to do. There are few absolutes in life, and it is important for us to be guided by our absolute values. My absolute values are that we are of God, we are all connected, and we are God’s beloved.  

So today, without any further delay, I ask you, “Have I told you, how much I love you?” 

I want you to know — I thank God, for the day you were born — for bringing you into this world. I thank you for the life you live, and how you touch the hearts of those around you. I thank you for the kind things you do quietly, and I thank you for the kind things you do openly.

I thank you for the smile on your face as you greet your neighbor. I thank you for the sharing of your gifts, talents and resources with your neighbor to get them through tough times. I thank you for your listening ear you shared with me when I needed to be heard.

Thank you for seeing me and acknowledging me. Thank you for lifting me up when I was down and unsure of what to do next. Thank you for saying kind words to boost my spirit and give me hope. 

I thank you God for this life. I thank you for bringing people into my life that show me your grace, your spirit and mercy.  Thank you God for showing me the duality of life. That even in my deepest sorrow, I  can still experience joy — your joy. God, thank you for this duality that helps bring balance, buoyancy, and appreciation. It helps me stay afloat, helps me to aspire and fills me with hope for tomorrow. 

Thank you God for being always present, for being in each person I spend time with, meet and see. Thank you for showing me your light in all of them, and in all the unexpected places. God, even in my deepest darkest night, your light illuminates and shows a path forward.

Thank you God for showing me the way, for putting your angels, who are extensions of you, in my path to guide me. Thank you for the challenges that call us to be better angels every moment of every day.

On this day, without any further delay, “I just want to say to you and all your better angels — how much I love you, and there’s no one above you. … At the end of the day, I give thanks and praise to the one, the one.” 

And now, my question to you: Have you told those around you that you love them? Have you told them you care? Don’t delay. 

Simone Talma Flowers serves as the executive director of Interfaith Action of Central Texas, cultivating peace, respect and understanding of our diverse communities, interfaithtexas.org.