love never fails

In honor of it being Valentines Day I'm tackling the subject of love in this post. Not romantic love, rather the universal, all-encompassing, master love that we humans desire in the marrow of our beings.

I'm currently in the midst of in-law drama. After dishing out monumental heaps of hurt, my husband's mother told me she "loves" me, her daughter-in-law. I asked her kindly to stop saying that.

It's insanity, really, to expect someone to believe you love them when you are so willing to hurt them.

In this conflict that began months ago, I found myself desperately trying to navigate the territory of forgiveness and anger. Because of my shortcomings and ignorance, I sought help in my quest. I researched forgiveness ad nauseam. I welcomed the advice of much wiser human counsel. I read devotional. I prayed. In the process my heart began to heal. Really, honestly, wholly heal.

Today, I am much better equipped for the next uprising. That said, the wounds are deep and my feelings toward my transgressor have changed. I don't know if I'll ever trust her again. What I do know is that there is a definition of love that provides guidance as we move through this world with our fellow humans:

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.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I believe the common purpose in humanhood is to love each other in this way. I also believe that there are times we cannot love like this, and it is most certainly okay to be honest about that. Loving in this capacity towards people we don't know, or people who have hurt us, let us down, betrayed us, who are different from us, is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest.

In other words, it is a feat of a lifetime.

I have come to the conclusion, because of my very personal journey, that it is much better to be honest with ourselves and with each other about our ability or inability to love in any given moment. It is better to be honest, than to say those extremely meaningful words without the necessary constitution to back them up.

Like I stated above, we desire unconditional love from each other in our marrow. When love is faked, and falsehood uncovered, we find ourselves standing in foreign soil wondering how to move forward, how to return home. The depth of that false relationship becomes betrayed, and is likely to suffer as a result. 

I find myself today with a fresh perspective on love, what it means, what I need it to look like in my life. And I also find myself now willing to commit to the feat of Mount Everest in my love engagement. That is, if I say I love you, my love will be held accountable to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. And if someone says they love me, I'll be holding that love up to this same standard. 

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