I have a confession to make.
Throughout my life, I have heard the following bible passage over and over and thought it was a load of bull...
1 Corinthians, 13:4-13...
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yada, yada, yada," I've said to myself, rolling my eyes, at wedding after wedding.
Love fails constantly. In fact, according to marriage statistics, it fails the majority of the time. I see relationship after relationship that devolves over time into something without patience or kindness, and filled with envy and pride. And what the hell did St. Paul know about such things anyway, wandering around barefooted proselytizing or writing from his prison cell?
But a couple of Sundays ago, 1 Corinthians: 13 was the reading at church, and for the first time, I really heard it, and understood it.
I think this is because I have finally reached an age when I have "put the ways of childhood behind me". And have come to a point in my life when I realize that the love which Paul was talking about was not a noun, but a verb. The act of loving. The deliberate choice to actively love someone. The choice to be loving, and to perform loving actions, even when your husband is a jackass. Or your child is a pain in the butt.
And it's a really hard thing to do. To love. It's something that I have been unable to do for long periods throughout my life. I may have been "in love". Often "in lust". But to love as an action verb? That's tough. It involves giving up a big chunk of ego. It involves looking at the greater good. It involves finding the good in small things, and not expecting the grand gesture.
Love is being patient, love is being kind. It is not being envious, it is not boasting, it is not being proud. It is not dishonoring others, it is not being self-seeking, it is not getting angry, it is keeping no record of wrongs. Love is not delighting in evil but rejoicing with the truth. It is protecting, always trusting, always hoping, always persevering.
I finally get it. In the past, if Jimmy was being a jerk, I would not be kind, but get angry, and self-righteous, prideful and envious. And the love would go away. But now, having made the choice to actively love, if he's a jerk, I tell him he's being nasty, then kiss him on the forehead and tell him I love him even if he's an asshole. And you know what? He stops being a jerk, and apologizes. And then he is actively loving to me. Our active loving of each other resonates and evolves. We find we are protecting, trusting, hoping and...persevering.
Taped on a cabinet in the kitchen, I have a quote from the Dalai Lama, which a friend of mine shared a while back on Facebook. It is as follows...
Even more important than the warmth and affection we receive, is the warmth and affection we give. It is by giving warmth and affection, by having a genuine sense of concern for others, in other words through compassion, that we gain the conditions for genuine happiness. More important than being loved, therefore, is to love.
So there you have it. St. Paul. The Dalai Lama. Two pretty smart dudes, saying basically the same thing. I'm glad I've lived long enough to come to understand a thing or two. Man, by the time I'm 80, I'll be fricking enlightened.
But just so y'all don't think that I've lost all of my cynicism, I will close with this less idealistic, but equally true quote...
"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra, and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." - Matt Groening
Love, love love...
Go check out the other love Spinners!!!
Kendra at Life in the slow lane - SEVEN POSTS on LOVE!
Nain at View From Down Here - NEW on FRIDAY!
Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie - NEW on FRIDAY!
Janice at I Got Nothing - NEW on FRIDAY!
Next week on The Spin Cycle...
I don't know about y'all, but I REALLY need a vacation. A real vacation. Not visiting Jimmy's parents, or going on a Cub Scout campout. It should involve a pool, and some fruity alcoholic beverages. And maid service. And a spa. And since this is most likely NOT going to happen anytime soon, I think it might be a good idea to take a little dream vacation.
So please, share your dream vacation. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to go with? The whole family? Just you and your significant other? Or perhaps, blissfully alone?
Do you crave beaches? Mountaintops? City lights? A silent retreat in a faraway cloister?
Write it up. Post it. Let me know, I'll link it!
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