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love never fails
sanrafael
soopageek
was raised in a fairly conservative Southern Baptist environment and as a result, have had ample exposure to the bible. Bible thumping doesn't just refer to the fiery Baptist preacher, all sweaty and red-faced, using the book as a visual prop. It's also the general principle that you thump these things into the heads of the youngsters at an early age so that it informs their lives. As an adult, I've built a spiritual life and constructed a view that works for me; a blend of religious views and a more universal approach rather than an exclusive one. While I no longer subscribe to the notion of the bible being an unerring word of God like the Baptists do, I do think it offers a lot of wisdom and keys to good living. Many years ago, my sister gave me a framed knick-knack for decorating my apartment after I had gotten divorced. It was nothing particularly special, but it contained a bit of the quote about love from Corinthians. I had it hanging on my wall for years until I began truck driving, and it has since been packed-away somewhere and not re-surfaced. It had the words "faith", "hope", and "love" in small boxes in an arc over some art design, and then beneath it, it said "The greatest of these is love." With the possible exception of Matthew 7 (golden rule, judge not, etc), it's one of my favorite passages in the bible.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


I love rather easily. I also like to think that I'm rather easy to love. But I am not necessarily an easy person to have a relationship with. I'm on the road nearly 300 days a year. I'm not interested in having children or raising a new family; I already have three kids of my own and had a vasectomy 8 years ago. I have some rather unorthodox views about romantic love; I don't put-out billboards with big arrows pointing at it, but a glance through my LJ bio page will tell you that I'm not ashamed or try to hide it.

When welfy and I met two years ago, she knew all of these things. She and I both decided to take the leap and explore the feelings we were having for each other. A year ago, she moved to Kentucky to live with me, yet another sacrifice on her part in addition to those mentioned above. In that time, we've explored what it's like to be primary partners in co-habitation. About a month ago she began to question the things she sacrifices for her relationship with me. She began to consider her long-held, more traditional ideas about romantic love and whether she could live with compromising what had long been a moral conviction for her. For the past month, I've tried to be patient and kind, to hope and to trust. Currently Welf is still in a complete state of confusion and indecision. I've always taken our living arrangement, that of a partnership, very seriously.

Beginning this week, I unilaterally decided to reduce our living arrangement to that of roommates. I now have my own bedroom in the house, and I've stripped our relationship of any expectation of being living partners. I hated to do it, but with no end in sight and little assurances to the contrary, I didn't see any other choice. Welf and I still love each other very much. As of this writing, we are still seeing each other romantically. Essentially, we're back to dating. I don't know how long this will last. I don't know if any sort of reconciliation can be achieved. Regardless of where things go, or where they end or begin, my primary hope is that Welf finds her way through this dark time. I love her so much, and more than anything, I want her to be happy in life; to have everything she needs, even if it means that it doesn't include me. Even if she and I fail, my love for her never will. I'm not angry. There is no record of wrongs.

But it does hurt, and it is hard. This morning, Welf posted a public entry dealing with some of these things for the LJ-Idol contest in which she has been participating all spring. It's a very brave entry for her, as she's not accustomed to having much of her personal life in the public arena. It's something I have a hard time doing even in a friends-only or filtered entry. I admire her for it, and it's one of her better entries... LJ-Idol or not.
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bible passage share

despite being a militant agnostic, my favorite psalm passage of sorrow and hope:

(psalm 42:5-7)

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

and the last part in latin, which i like even more:

7 Abyssus abyssum invocat in voce cataractarum tuarum;
omnes gurgites tui et fluctus tui super me transierunt

i just like the way the first part of 7 flows.

Re: bible passage share

The Psalms are definitely some of the most beautiful in all ancient literature. I wouldn't go as far as you, as to paint myself militantly agnostic; I certainly believe in God... I just haven't much faith in the religion of man. From where I sit and what I see, there has to be a God. I just have trouble believing that any one belief is necessarily correct.

I have a hard time accepting that billions upon billions of people who have already lived, are currently living, and will ever live are somehow condemned or spiritually bankrupt for adopting the religion of their parents and their culture, which is what most EVERYONE does. I prefer to think that the spiritual nature of man is universal, and that the path to understanding your purpose is different from person to person and from culture to culture. I bristle instinctively at the hint of fundamentalist thought, regardless of the religion; Whether it's "Jesus is the way" or "In the name of Allah."

Re: bible passage share

well, i'm certainly not expecting anyone to convert to my thinking. i spent a considerable portion of my youth calling bullshit on everything and decided that by the way almost all religion define supernatural force that there was no way for man to *know* anything in religion, in the authoritative sense. there is very little we can know, aside from our own conceptual fabrications and reasonings.

butchery of linguistic patterns aside, i think that the semantics of truth and knowledge are lies and delusions that we use to polish the turd that is belief in the human experience. even science is guilty of this. we cannot know the whole truth. 'the tao that can be known is not the real tao', as it were.

i believe that zen monks, all buddhist trappings aside, were agnostic fundamentalists.

Re: bible passage share

(were/are)

also, i should say that just because we can know only our conceptual fabrications and reasonings it doesn't mean that we're wrong. we just can't know we're wrong or right. it's all just manifestations of will, in a reality tunnel we create for ourselves.

Re: bible passage share

(thus ends my own religious self-justification)

Re: bible passage share

I've always been fond of saying the only thing absolute, is that nothing is absolute. We can never truly know anything.

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