For so long I have gone to a beautiful piece of poetry to search for a way to describe the essence and potency of love. Rumi exhausted, I return to my roots and find Corinthians 13 waiting for me as always. I continue to find treasures and challenges in each line, and truths that need not be told as they are so universal there is a knowing beyond words.
In these days and nights there are precious moments. Priceless. Irreplaceable. Some are of harvest and others once-in-a-lifetime you need to be vigilant, so not to miss the fleeting nano gift arriving. Sentry duty becomes a practice to keep out unwanted and unwelcome distractions.
My promise to tomorrow is to give the sentry a little rest from time to time by putting in placeholders of poetry; to let the eyes fall when they need to, and to remember love will do her work even if I am not looking.
1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I speak at all it is the language of breath and silence, each inspiration fills the lungs with the future and each expiration delivers memories to the universe. I am only love made mute.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I can forecast and bring mystery to each moment and make meaning from the depths of all knowing, yet cannot hold still the singular moment of joy, there is nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
If I empty my shelves, my bank account, my body to make visible what I have accumulated, and humility has not made a home, there is nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love’s laws are fused in quiet spaces, expansive kisses, confident dreams, accidents and surprises: hidden and visible in equal measure. Salt, vinegar, nitrates, sulphur preservatives of love, build resilience, stave off fear, clean off the plaque and disappointment debts.
8 Love never fails.
Love comes through, time and time and time again and is all that there is when everything else is stripped away. Unplugged. Love remains.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
There is no compass, no crystal ball, no stars to consult. Silence is the guide towards wholeness.
11 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. 12 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.
What has been known in the dark, the light now reveals. Breath, bearing gifts carries love with optimism, trust, confidence.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Hands held in the great silence. The UniVerse: where love, the code and decoder become one.