How many times have we been to a wedding and heard this all too familiar passage? But the better question is, how many times did we actually listen to the words, absorb them, let them reach our brain, our heart?
After a few years of ugliness that I wouldn’t dare write about here, I have met someone who epitomizes this passage – really – and has stopped me in my tracks and made me realize that perhaps until now I never experienced love or even known how to truly love myself. I want to soak these words in, breathe them, comprehend them in my DNA so I can return this kind of love – not only as the example Jesus would have us give, but for my new special someone…who each day is helping me find the me that was lost under a mountain of rubble.
Love is patient: Patience is not just for your children. Patience is for everyone – the driver who cuts you off in traffic, the new cashier who’s checking you out when you are in a hurry, a mentally challenged person who needs a moment of your time…there are no parameters on who we are to be patient with and to what degree. If we are being loving, we are patient, period.
Love is kind: This one would seem fairly straight forward, but the number of times I encounter people in my day who have lost the art of human kindness makes my heart sad. A simple “Good Morning” in passing, holding the elevator door for someone you see approaching, allowing someone to go in front of you in line…simple gestures, split seconds of time, but all things that have such a huge impact in the day of someone who needs a little lift.
Love does not brag, boast or envy: This one can be a bit confusing. Basically, love cares more about the other person that itself. It doesn’t eat the last scoop of her favorite ice cream, but offers it to her, with chocolate syrup, without saying a word. It gives him the better pillow on the bed, then snuggles up close to share it with him.
Love is not easily angered, nor does it keep a record of wrong-doings: This might be the most difficult one for us as human beings. When we are hurt, we get angry…we’re human; it’s a biological reaction. But what we choose to do next only serves to compound the problem. We hang on to that anger…and we stew on it…and we let it fester…and we don’t discuss it with our loved one, until suddenly it’s a huge raw ugly area of pain that cannot be remedied with the best of care.
And ultimately when we do that, we hurt US…the ones who hold the anger. We drink more poison each day we hold that anger. And our hearts die a little bit more each day, along with our love. And we secretly distance ourselves from our loved one, without them even knowing it. And walls go up, and little things spark new arguments, and suddenly nothing is ‘done right’…a slow fade. And we throw out every tiny bad thing that ever happened since birth…and hurtful words are exchanged, things we’d never say in the light of love…but things we can’t ever take back. The damage is done.
Love does not celebrate injustice, but rejoices in the truth:
But what if instead, when our feelings were hurt, we spoke up in love? We told our partner what happened, trusting we could share our heart and not be hurt? What if we resolved feelings as they happened, instead of piling them up like dirty laundry in the corner? This is how true love is meant to function. Walking in truth, side by side, sharing the good and the bad. Being there…really being there for our love regardless of the cost to ourselves.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things: This line is supposed to be the post inspiring part…that no matter what life throws at us, we can count on our love. When we dare to dream big, love supports those dreams. When the bottom falls out, love holds us up when we cannot stand. When crisis strikes, love is the glue that holds us together. Love is the standard by which everything else is measured.
Love never fails: And here’s the most challenging part. Can we live up to that standard? Can we stand by one person, loving them, with the patience we should afford any stranger, with basic human kindness we would like bestowed upon us, caring always more about their needs than our own, forgiving the small hurts and being willing to quickly discuss the larger ones, staying when things are incredible high and equally devastatingly low? This is love…that we would give up ourselves for our partner. And never, ever stop…
Until recently, and except from my Heavenly Father, I have not seen this example displayed…ever. I have lived on this earth almost 46 years, and I have learned more about loving in the last few weeks that I have known my whole life.
I choose to be excited for the incredible relationship I get to partake in. I am humbled by the display of kindness and compassion, integrity and devotion lain out before me. I am happy and full of joy – a life I was meant to live.
For anyone digging out from their own rubble pile, I give you these word of hope: You are worth more. Someone is digging toward you. Don’t stop hoping.