Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love Never Fails

My life has always seemed to me a little like feast or famine.  I mean that in an abundance of areas, but particularly in love and loss...whether my own or those dearest to me.

There is a powerful song called Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars.  I heard it several months ago, but saw it on a friend's status tonight.  I played it and was instantly reminded of the haunting, but honest nature of the song.  One of the songwriters describes the song...

"Poison & Wine is a musical snapshot about the dichotomy of love - that while it can be the thing that destroys you, it can also be the very same thing that beckons and builds you. JP and I are both married have been for several years now - and we got to talking one day about what a tug and pull our individual relationships can be. The longer you know someone - and the longer you allow someone to know you - the more the light and shadows inside each person become more vivid. This song was our attempt at being as brutally honest about the dangerous and beautiful process of knowing and being known." ~ (Joy Williams, The Civil Wars)

Wow.

I have a few people in my life right now who need to hear this song and get the meaning intended by the writers.  Only problem...at least one of them doesn't have a computer...and I am not sure one song can heal nearly 30 years of built up pain and resentment. 

I am amazed that I still believe in true love.  Everything in my entire life should have pointed me to love fails, yet I still believe.  Truly.  Deeply.  Madly. 

Today, I was asked to describe the magic of The Farm, Doretha's wishes for it long after she is gone, and what it means to me.  As I wiped away the tears that came in trying to answer what must have seemed like simple questions to the interviewer, I found myself describing the magic of what happens when individuals from family to strangers cross the threshold of the front door....Pure Magic.  I then described the incredible differences among the seven Shipman children, and yet each of their cores identically founded in love.  To me, that is Leon and Doretha's legacy...Love.  Perfect?  No.  Easy?  No.  Enduring?  Oh, yes.  Doretha's voice softens whenever she talks about Shipman (her name for Leon).  Her eyes gently mist and her eyes wander off.  Were they blameless or without flaws?  Absolutely not.  They loved each other in a way that maybe even their children don't fully understand.  Not that any child ever really does.  As an adopted member of the family, I would never claim to understand it, but I know it was there because its power still sustains her....it sustains the values each of them live by and it haunts the choices each of them make. 



All of this leads me to tonight where in our Bible Study class, there was a thunderous debate on Acts.  Are miracles real, etc.?  It was fascinating (as it usually is) to listen to the group discuss the topic in depth.  While they went on and on, I started searching for something in my Bible.  I almost chuckled out loud because I was quickly turning page by page, scanning for what I was not quite sure.  Then I found it, II Corinthians 4:7-18:

7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

It doesn't matter.  What is of this world...does...not...matter.

Now, this did not settle the discussion in our bible study tonight, nor does it fix the issues in my loved ones lives.  What it does do is give me peace in my spirit...in my heart...in my mind.  I worry too much.  I worry about the things I can control, and about things that there is no way on Earth I could ever help with, much less control.

God calmed me tonight.  I am oh so grateful (and yes, glad).

Love exists.  Love is difficult.  Love is imperfect.  Love is the "...dangerous and beautiful process of knowing and being known."

Known.  I want to be known. 

Isn't that secretly the point? 

On this Earth and for God?

I want that with someone here...selfishly.

In my heart, I believe that is the lasting gift Leon gave Doretha, and that together they (and she continues today) gave to their children, grandchildren, and on and on.  That gift is rare.

Are you loving in a way that gives your partner/spouse/friend/family (etc.) the gift of a reservoir (full and giving only of its excess) or a canal (quickly filled and then emptied) while you are here on Earth and then after you are gone?  To that extent, what legacy are you leaving?  Are you growing in God and love inside even as your body is slowly dying on the outside?  Are you known?  By God or by man?  By anyone?

Love ~ It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

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