& He brought me to that familiar passage in 1 Corinthians.
i have used parts of it for song lyrics in days gone by, i memorized it in highschool - and heard it at about a dozen weddings.
The Love Chapter.
i can almost skim it now when i read it in my bible because the words are so familiar to me... but that day, they caught my eyes like barbs, and i couldn't pass them easily.
It started with the last verse of Chapter 12...
& now? "i will show you the most excellent way..."
How's that for an introduction to a chapter about how we should live??
The Most Excellent Way.
i want that... & love? What a beautiful place to start.
i know that this chapter isn't talking about the love between a man & a wife... but for me... on this day... that's where it met me.
When you first fall in love... it's like going for a swim.
(i know... i compare everything to water...)
You begin to wade in. The summer sun is melting a hole in the top of your head and the water is deliciously warm. It's a relief to submerge your body and to begin to swim... You plunge under, feeling the deep silence of being underwater and then coming to the surface, you begin the marathon of strokes that will take you out... deeper.
Being in love? It's like going for a swim... & the longer you're in love, the deeper you get. One day, you look down & you can't see the bottom. You take a deep breath, and swim down as far as you can go... & the bottom has disappeared. There is no shore - there is no bottom - there are great depths beneath you -so deep has your love become... and the beauty of this monster-love is both breath taking and horrifying.
What if i drown?
That's when i read the love chapter.
& it was like i was reading it for the first time.
i understood it to say, "Paige... you could be the best, smartest, most amazing Christian that ever lived... but if you don't have love, it's all for nothing..."
i could be generous, full of knowledge, gifted and self-sacrificing...
but even those good things will pass away.
Love is the trump card.
& no. i'm not a bible scholar. Maybe i'll get comments on my blog that expand, clarify and correct what i've written here...
But no matter.
i'm in the deep waters of love... and this passage gives me courage... courage to love deeper, throw away the fear that would limit my love in a self-preserving way - and learn how to really... *really* Love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
i remember one day feeling so utterly incapable of being neil's wife... always a crease in the shirt, the crumbs on the floor, the empty roll of toilet paper... and yet feeling a smug confidence that no girl on earth could possibly love the man more, so at least in that... at least in *that*... i had something worth giving.
& i doggy paddle farther into the unfathomable depths of love...
i find the courage to love the lovelies... and the unlovable - my husband... and the world around me are both easier to love in the framework of His instruction.
Seeking to live...
in the most excellent way.