This morning I awoke with a bible verse in my head. Now I don’t think that I am being magically “touched by God” I just know that after a childhood of indoctrination, my head will often go in this direction when I have spent time musing on things.
I have been thinking about love. The verse is from the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-6 and it goes as follows:
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.
(This is from the New International Version, it was my bible of choice when I attended church. You may know it phrased slightly differently.)
I grew up believing that this was the perfect way to love. It was my model to base my relationships on.
I can say that although when I read those words, they do seem like the most perfect way to be, I don’t think I live up to them. When I was a teenager and experiencing my first love (or what I thought was love, and maybe it was, maybe it changes as we get older) I don’t think any of the above was present.
I think about my current relationship with lovely boyfriend. I am not a patient person, with most things, I seem to not mind spending half an hour feeding my son a minuscule bowl of porridge that looks as if it should be gone in under a minute. But in general, I am the person drumming their fingers, rolling their eyes and taking things out of people’s hands because I can do it quicker.
I do think I am patient in my relationship. I listen to stories that I already know the end of, I watch games on the playstation, that I have zero interest in. It took me over a year to bring up the way that he eats yoghurts makes me want to punch something. (although if I was truly patient, not self seeking, not easily angered and kept no record of wrongdoings, he could still eat his yoghurt in peace….)
He is patient with me, he has spent HOURS helping me do my hair, to the detriment of his back. He has come home after a twelve hour shift, listened to my girlfriends and I talk about things that make him bored to tears and made us all cups of tea, instead of grumpily huffing around until my friends feel so uncomfortable that they all go home (boyfriend of times past was an expert at this).
Love is kind, this is probably the most true. Being kind is the easiest one up there I think. Being kind feels much nicer than being patient does. You get some sort of altruistic buzz from kindness. Helping an elderly person take shopping home is not only helpful for them, afterwards you get a warm glow like you are a hero. When I was nearing the summit of my pregnancy, one of my neighbours saw me carrying a huge box filled with treasures from my late Nanna’s house, stopped me in the street and insisted on carrying it for me. I ALWAYS stop when I see him in the street now. I like him. He is kind.
Love does not envy. I suck at this. I guard everything that I love jealously. No you can’t have him/it, it is MINE. Maybe if I hadn’t lost so many people/things that I love in the past then I wouldn’t be so fiercely protective now. Obviously that doesn’t mean that lovely boyfriend is chained in the house, that I don’t let people take care of my dribble face or that nobody is allowed to stroke my fluffy family. Quite to the contrary, lovely boyfriend is free to live his life. I utilise every trusted person that wants to spend time with my tiny person and several of my doggy friends take members of the fluffy clan out to play, even if I am not going too. But I know that if I felt a person was trying to get in the way of me having any of my family in my life any longer, through a mean method or by undermining our wonderful life. I would run them down in my car.
Love does not boast. Nope, I proudly boast about how super my life is all over the internet. I post pictures of my whole family on social networking sites. I have awesome siblings that I love and would give internal organs for if they needed them. I am lucky, and I am not shy about telling anyone who will listen. Just look at my Facebook or Instagram it screams “LOOK At ME!!!!! Look how lucky I am! I have the best life EVER!” Boasty, boasty, smug face.
Equally I am proud. I am proud and I don’t understand why I shouldn’t proudly love my life. I do get the, not being proud in the never back down kind of way (which I am also prone to) I have come on leaps and bounds in that respect and I have been heard using the phrase “You are right, I was wrong” in public, not just muttered in a room where I am alone and finishing the argument by myself.
Not dishonouring others, I am in full support of this being a big part of love. I feel that lovely boyfriend and I respect and honour each other in the manner that we would both like to be treated.
The same with not being self seeking. I feel that I am lucky to be part of an awesome love team where we are caring for each other. I once left a relationship with the phrase. ” I love you, and you love you, so nobody has been loving me.” It was true. I can really see the difference now that I am loving someone and they are loving me in return. I bought an ironing board for the first time in my life recently because I love lovely boyfriend so much. I hate ironing, he wears shirts.
Now the not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongdoings. I know that I am not alone in having a mental list of things in the back of my head that have annoyed me. They are not present every day but I would be lying if I said that when I enter the bathroom to find the usual carnage left behind, that I KNOW I have mentioned is not a super fun sharing way to treat the bathroom, that the previous conversations had over the sink/toilet/bathtub don’t all come rushing into the forefront of my mind.
Rejoicing in the truth. I love this sentence. I always picture my Dad dancing when I hear it. I am someone who prefers the truth, even if at first when you hear it, you might not like it. Honesty is right up there for me. I don’t think any relationship can function without it.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I am a peaceful person who thinks that we should all sit down and come to rational solutions to problems. I remember coming home from school and talking to my Mum about how I thought all weapons should be destroyed. She told me that if she thought someone was coming to our home to harm any of us, she would stand on the doorstep with a gun and mow them down in the street. I didn’t really understand then. I get it now. If I thought that anyone was going to harm my family, I would defend them to my last breath.
Trust. This is the main one. Trust, once broken can never be the same again. You can try and stick it back together, but the cracks will always show. When I love someone I give them my heart. There are several people out there in the world that I have given pieces of my heart to. Some of them deserve to be allowed to touch my heart. I have never asked for that piece back. They can keep it forever because I know that they will take care of it, treat it well and make sure that no harm comes to it. Others however, have treated it worse than a discarded tin can in the street, kicking it through mud and dog poo, standing on it to get closer to something else that they wanted more. Once I have reclaimed what is mine, it has taken quite a bit of cleaning and care to try and restore it to what it was before.
Being in love and being loved is wonderful. Sometimes this wonder can last until you die. Sometimes it is fleeting. You could argue that the fleeting love was never love in the first place. However I believe in living in the present. You in your present state, as you are today can love and feel like it is the most all consuming, powerful love that anyone has ever felt. Next month you could be nursing a broken heart, or looking at that person over a bowl of cornflakes and wondering if you could get away with slipping some sort of poison in there.
I believe that it is worth it. Maybe the biblical version of love is a bit of a tall order to try and live up to, but I think it is a good model to aim towards. I hope that I can preserve the love in my life as long as I live. I hope that it will just get better and better.