If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love!
Today, we had a discussion about Christian Fiction Books. I've read about 6 years of Christian Fiction Books, and I found them, at first, a little alarming. Wow, what better Christians and more saintly than I. Then interesting, wow, I thought I can learn. Then I decided, comfortably, it was dull. Okay, some I've remembered and treasured.
I read about a child who was learning about the Bible and was reading Genesis. She was asked by her priest what she thought. She said they seem to be a lot of friends and she liked that part. Friends, the priest asked? Yes, she explained, everyone 'knew' everyone else.
This ties together the point I'm trying to make. The Bible isn't Pollyana - sweetness, it's about real difficulties, real selfishness, real sin, inadvertant sin and incredible love and forgiveness. The Scriptures are about the power of love being squashed down " by trouble, persecution, the cares, the pleasures, the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things."
One of the greatest love stories in my life is my paternal grandmother. This isn't a Hallmark card or movie. One of my favorite movies has a scene, the main character goes back 20 years to high school, the most meaningful scene, she goes to see her living grandparents. Tears me up, tears me up. What a priviledge.
My grandmother has 4 great-grandchildren. 3 are named after her. My husband loves to recall my Mississippi Grandmother and her beautiful, gentle voice and aristocratic talk and ways. Such a gentle woman, believing life should be accomplished with a lot of Christian ethics. Her penmanship going back to being educated in small town, where penmanship was important. Having wonderful supportive, loving parents. Her love for her house - being one of the few not burned down "in the War of Northern Aggression." The Waaaaaarrrr of Noooorthrn Aggggresssionnnn, say it with me, there is no twang in this. (My history teacher, Mr. Wagner, loved to have me repeat this in Pennsylvania!)
Grandmother was born in the Mississippi Delta, in the era of Eudora Weldy, and she never belonged to or joined the popular racist club. She adored Veelma, her maid, for over 30 years. Veelma was the underprivileged, unacknowledged, illegitimate, half black, daughter of one of Oxford's doctors. She and grandmother stood and swept, yet all of Grandmother's old antebellum house looked a lot like Miss Haversham's, minus the wedding cake.
Her perfect childhood, her grandmothers she loved - living with her parents, her father's affluence, her loved remembered, discussed childhood home, her brothers she loved, her sister who annoyed her, her father saving from her from her mother's wrath when she ruined the car bumper and Pop secretly paid for the $16 ruined bumper. Falling in love with her brother's roommate from College; meeting the most handsome man in the world and marrying the man you can't live without. He was from a family with another fine house. He writes his aunt Hattie to say he is giving up alcohol to marry her.
Alcoholism can take many years to sink you down. Alcoholism and alcoholic families have several courses; beat it, join it, enable it or leave it. Grandmother, being the gentle soul she was, joined it. We had a Thanksgiving one year, she became angered - this from the most dignified, gentle loving woman in the world - and took off her wig and threw it on the table & thundered about her new marriage (my grandfather had been dead for 15 years) to her new husband, an Episcopal priest. Robin Williams would say we were pretty Southern Episcopalian.
This being said. When the great Chapter of Love is read or said, I never forget my Grandmother. When I grow old, I want to be the example of love she was to us. She found in us, absolute delight. Every time we saw her, she made sure to say, "I love you and I am so proud of you." Sincerity rang out. Sometimes she did without, to make sure we had something she wanted to give us. Grandmother knew we were parented, so she didn't parent us; she asked us what we thought and she would honestly discuss it.
Grandmother wanted to know what interested us and she never encouraged us to be lawyers or doctors. Grandmother was interested in friendships and boyfriends. Her message was to forgive unkindness and to always remember the people the people who have been kind and loving to you and never to push them down. My Grandmother paid for my college education when my father scorned it. Grandmother was always astonished I had a job and flew all over the country. We grinned about it a lot.
At our Rehearsal Dinner, my Grandmother began her blessing of my marriage by saying she was, "As old as God". Really, Grandmother's love was a dress rehearsal for God's love.