Friday, April 9, 2010

could you put your name in?

Pick a wedding, any wedding, and you will have likely heard the following: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast…” etc. First Corinthians Thirteen has become the thing to read in a moment of nuptial bliss, and with good reason: all these things that love “is” become requirements when you tie the knot.

…but what about before?

Every time I go to a wedding (and I’ve been to quite a few) and hear those famously difficult words read aloud I am challenged anew to apply these principles to my own life. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not self seeking. But somehow, over time, I forget. As the space between weddings grows bigger my mind erases the imminence and urgency of those words.

During a recent conversation, I was challenged with this group of verses once again. It wasn’t a wedding. The challenge was this: put your name in where Love should be.

“Okay.” I thought to myself, ambitiously. “Ashley is patient” I began. “Ashley is kind” I continued, a small lump forming in my throat. “Ashley does not env…” cough. “Ashley does not boast, Ashley is not rude…uh, shoot…next!…Ashley is not self seek…oooh no.”

As I continued on, I couldn’t even finish the sentences (or start them, in some cases). My throat had dried up, my mouth turned paralytic and I realized: I am not most of these things. And I am never all of these things at once.

I don’t think the point of the exercise was to condemn (phew!), but rather, to point out the obvious: it takes effort to match up and become this Loving. Proof, perhaps? That Love truly is more than a feeling. Love takes effort, Love is a choice. Love “runs out” when we let it, because we choose to let it, because we’ve forgotten what it really means to Love. Against-the-grain, isn’t it?

I wonder what would happen to the world, the neighborhoods, and our families if this “Love chapter” was etched a bit more fixedly in our consciences.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, 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.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sad hey, how we take these awesome words that are be used for growth and challenge and only ever bring them out when 'romantics' are concerned. yet it was given to the believers, the church. that we may learn to love as a body, as one. a body not made of two standing in front at an alter, but of everyone.