If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing…
I’m back from a weekend of out-of-town, where I was blessed to spend some time with Chinese families with children with disabilities, be present to their struggles, witness their patience, and hence the title of this post, learn to love all over again.
Yesterday morning, gazing at a twelve-year old girl, who wore double hearing aids and a wide smile, and jerked along as fast as her legs, hampered by cerebral palsy would carry her, an NGO staff member murmured, “I wonder what it must be like to have a capable mind and yet be trapped in a body that just won’t do what you want it to do.”
I can’t imagine.
But I also can’t imagine a love that surpasses all mysteries, all knowledge, the strongest faith, the kind that moves mountains, and then some. The other day I read a reflection somewhere that reminded us that faith, love, and hope, all of which come from God, don’t actually take away our struggles, or our challenges, but they give us strength for the journey, they empower us to go on, and they allow us to leave our worries and our fears of this world behind.
And so this was and is my prayer for these families, that they will feel God’s peace, in the midst of struggle, that they will know hope instead of fear, that they will receive grace, even when they’re angry, frustrated, and impatient. And that they will continue to look on their children with the kind of love that has no conditions, knows no boundaries, and breaks all barriers.
Today I read a reflection on the web that encouraged us to mindfully look upon those in our midst with gratefulness. As I sat in silence this morning, these children flashed through my mind, and I felt grateful. They are good at loving their parents, at loving me for the short time we were together, and perhaps most importantly, at loving themselves. May all who love them, their parents, those who seek to help them, love them as God loves them and as they love others. May we all, like children, learn to love again and again.
…Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. –1 Corinthians: 1-7