Jim Bishop | Heart throbs: All we really need is love?

“Love is like an itchin’ in my heart,
tearin’ me apart . . .”
– Diana Ross and the Supremes (1966)

So, scratch where it itches, Diana, because this most basic human emotion displays its most radiant colors when it’s active.
Trying to describe what love is . . . is next to impossible. But on this love-liest of days, St. Valentine’s Day, I’ll take a crack at it. May it unfold like a fresh floral bouquet, OK?

Love is . . .

. A grandchild running to you and wrapping his arms around your legs.

. Caring unwaveringly for a spouse or other loved one who is facing a life-threatening illness.. Listening intently and openly to a speaker even when you don’t like or agree with what is being said.

. Carefully weighing, and maybe even withholding comment, in situations when the truth may generate more heat than light.

. Stroking your purring, hairy feline and then resisting the urge to kick him/her/it into the middle of next week when it shows its gratitude by throwing up on your living room carpet.

. Knowing what to appreciate and care for (“like”) and what to worship and adore (“love”).

. Seeing a Shenandoah Valley sunrise or sunset and thanking the Master Artist.

. Weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.

. Sometimes saying “no” when it’s not easy; the same goes for saying “yes.”

. Striving to make one’s words and actions cohere.

. Saying “Please,” “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” – and meaning it.

. Tackling that unpleasant task first and finding something valuable in it.

. Keeping your promises . . . and letting the other person know when a commitment made can’t be kept.

. Respecting authority, even when questioning it.

. Doing something nice anonymously for another; reaching out to someone in need and not expecting anything in return.

. Giving thanks daily for God’s beneficence, remember that to whom much is given, much is required.

As the Apostle Paul loved to say, “Three things remain – faith, hope and love – but the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13).

Wonder if he minds my rephrasing his passage this way:

Though I may speak with the authority of an English major, but have no love, I’m like a late-model vehicle with clogged fuel injectors, an Apple iPhone with weak batteries.

I may possess the gift of a prolific pen and even risk buying a Mercedes-Benz C320 sport coupe on the installment plan. But if I lack love, I’m a real nowhere man.

I may drop my shekels in the offering every Sunday and smile at the usher, but if I have not love, I’m a mealy-mouthed materialist.

Love is patience in a mile-long waiting line;

Love is offering kind words in place of those spoken in haste;

Love forgives and forgets, does not knock other people’s beliefs, but rejoices when one’s happiness can be shared with others.

Love conquers all; there are no outer limits to its faith, hope and endurance.

Love will never lose the groove.

Are there prophetic voices on the editorial page? They serve an immediate need.

Are there telescoped-tongue podium pounders? Most are soon forgotten.

Have I gained from my years in the halls of education? Yes, to a degree.

But while prophets, charismatic speakers and teachers are important, their words mean little until the driving force, love, completes the scene.

To sum it up: there are three things that will never fade away – faith, hope, and love.

When I was a child, I acted accordingly.

When I reached maturity, certain things had to go.

My image of the future is distorted, but can be focused by the Head Projectionist, and eventually become clear to me as it already is to him.

To sum it up: there are three things that will never fade away – faith, hope and love.

Let each of us pray for the faith and hope to grow in the greatest of all – LOVE.

 

Column by Jim Bishop


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