The Next Dance

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful,
not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,
and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth.
Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.

I’ve read this over about five times now, and it keeps on growing in my mind. The above is only a part of the verse cited, but it’s the part that kept reaching out and poking me. It’s the part that I felt was reading me; the part that was peering into my heart to see what is going on in there. It’s the part that sat down in front of me with a questioning look on its face, put its chin in its hand, and looked at me without saying anything. And kept on looking.

Eventually I started noticing specific things; I started trying to see what the verse was looking at in me. I noticed that it started out by talking about what love is; then what it isn’t; then back to what it is again. There is a message in that movement, I think.

We know love by what it is, and we know what love isn’t because of what it is. At least I think that’s how it works.

“Love takes its delight in the truth.” Only, sometimes that delight hurts. How can I know that it’s delight if it hurts? Because the tears lift a weight off of me. My heart eases open, and I find that I am willing to endure disillusionment, loss, betrayal, and unkindness.

“Love keeps no record of wrongs.” That right there is the assay that proves the metal. If the wrong done falls away; if it fades off into the darkness and leaves me behind in the light, then I know this love is the real deal.

There are lots of ways to fake love, to use it to do all those things in Paul’s list of what love isn’t. If I'm boasting about my love, it ain’t love. If my love is impatient, rude, and selfish, it ain’t love. If I say, “Look how much I care about you no matter how bad you are…….look how forbearing I am……” that ain’t love.

I think the trick is in the understanding that love isn’t an attitude. It isn’t something that can be invented, produced, or constructed. No, Love acts in us and through us. It knows its own mind, and knows our minds as well. It already exists deep within us. It just sits there, and no matter how often we ignore it, it keeps right on sitting there, waiting for us to open the gate.

So, when it comes to loving, I don’t believe we need to try, as much as we need to trust.

We just need to notice that Love is right here, waiting for us to pay attention.

The author Maggie Ross says that the universe is made of Love, and I believe it.

Love is not an emotion, it’s a state of being; a force. It’s a unity in and of Itself; one we can’t control or manipulate; one that doesn’t depend at all on what we think or imagine. It just is.

Loving in the manner that Paul describes doesn’t feel like an action, it feels like an assent. It feels like cooperation; like coordination; like some kind of syzygy in which I am aligned with the stars and planets. It feels like stepping forward and taking my proper place in the divine order of things. It makes me feel bashful, hopeful, and utterly uncertain, in a good way.

It isn’t up to me to figure out how Love works.

Love has already figured out how I work—

all I need to do is step up and hold out my hand for the next dance.


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