“Love is patient, love is kind….love endures all…love never gives up.” 1 Corinthians 13
The words have a kind of echo, a transparency and so a mediocrity: stitched onto a pillow, trapped in a shadow box, the meaning slips into the obscurity of the omnipresent. The words, after all, are about the work that love is, the effort that the gift of love demands. It is not simply about recognizing love when it is recieved but becoming distributors of love and grace. To do that, to become conductors of grace, is to become better than who and what we are now.
Love is work; it requires a consciousness, a self-awareness birthed in honesty and humility. Love means practicing putting other before self, thinking of the collective good rather than the personal agenda. It is about the ability to delay gratification rather than expereince immediate satisfaction. Though the phrases glide together in a poetic rhythm, the behaviors and choices they suggest are nothing short of painful. Each characteristic expressed invites the reader to embark on a lifetime of learning how to love which is, in essence, learning how to live.
Love means remembering that rumination over injury, brooding, is closer to narcissism than self-love. Love involves letting go purposefully, moving forward without the mire of self-pity or quest for revenge. Love is about living in a mindful, healthy way.
And in its highest form, love is so much more than gratification: it is something that endures brokenness, fault and flaw, sorrow and despair. Love forgives. It is, in essence, greater than any single person, beyond emotional and physical attachments, beneath the superficial interactions of daily life. Love transcends what is human and hints of what s divine. Where and when we fail, Love sustains and remains.
The work of Love is the real work of human life. It is the foundation of what it means to be alive, and yet the choices about love rest firmly in human decisions. Daring to believe in love, to choose to love, to trust in hope, is to see beyond the suffering that so often characterizes human experience. Love cannot exist without the full participation of human beings who choose awareness and decide to become patient,kind, calm and courteous. Love is more than theory, far more than words. But it is up to us to make it that way.