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Posts Tagged ‘calm’

Power in the basics. There is such a simplicity to the message: love God, love others. One builds on the other. One is enhanced by the other. And along the way, the love itself creates a momentum for the ages. Love is like energy: it never disappears.

I Corinthians 13:8a, 13
Love never fails. . . . And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I know about energy intellectually, but it’s not something I think about every day. Energy is bouncing around us all the time. Energy is transformed from one state to another, always moving, morphing, or actively waiting. And so is love.

This is how love never fails. Love is resilient and creative. Love is strong and gentle. Love is comfortable in the world of paradox.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe. And instead of harnessing it, we have cheapened it with images of Valentine hearts, cupids, and “Precious Moments” figurines. We have allowed love to become sex. We have watered down the strength of love.

But it is still there. Love is still available, because love never fails. Love is not just the words. Love is a space where energy can flow back and forth. I can’t really love pizza, it’s an inanimate object.

God is love [I John 4:8]. God is light [I John 1:5]. God is energy. God cannot be destroyed. To love others is to “god” others.

If we want to introduce God to others, then we’d better start at the ground level with love. And if we’re not sure what that means, then we need to learn I Corinthians 13 by heart, ground it in the heart, move it through the heart: kindness, generosity, patience, humility, caring, calm, soothing, forgiving, unassuming, and contented.

Love is a practice.

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I Corinthians 13:4b-6
. . . It [love] 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.

If love is not these things, perhaps it’s a good idea for me to consider the antonyms. I can’t really “do” or “practice” a “NOT.” So I looked them up.

The opposite of the verb envy is to be confident or contented, to be generous and giving. Do I reflect love in this way? Is my love toward others unwavering and confident. Am I content with the love I have as well as the love I can give. Interesting though, these are actually “states of being.” I cannot practice contentment and confidence, not really. I can turn a corner and choose. And generosity comes from within. Generous giving comes from confidence and contentment. So, perhaps, “not envying” what others have is indeed the first step toward contentment.

The opposite of boasting is to be modest, quiet, and deprecating (playing down what one has). It’s not that I don’t have the “stuff” or the relationships or the love or the ability, it’s that I don’t brag about what I have. This brings to mind the “ugly American” who travels with a chip on his/her shoulder, expecting service up to certain standards. It’s an “I deserve” attitude. All of those cliches like “keeping up with the Joneses” are counter to the basics of not boasting. Our of pride in the accomplishments of our children, we often provide litany after litany of their successes, their grades, their jobs, their scores.

The opposite of rudeness is kindness, politeness, and respect. This I can practice, if I choose to do so. The more kindness I show, the more politeness, the more respect, the less rude I will seem. Politeness has gone out of favor. Our children do not recognize politeness as necessarily important. But do we realize that love requires this of us? If I love my children, I should also be kind, polite and respect them for who they are in each stage of life. It is my job to model that.

The opposite of self-seeking is similar to the opposite of envy — it’s giving, benevolent, and caring; moral and ethical. This is the essence of mindfulness of “other.” These are the traits of the humble. Really, it reminds of stepping out of costume, the selfish costume, and showing the tender center within. It’s casting off the habit of selfishness.

The opposite of anger is joy, pleasantness, calm and being soothing. I cannot practice joy, it’s a result, but I can be pleasant instead of not, I can look for my inner calm and bring it to the surface, I can be soothing to the one who is hurting. I cannot be angry if I am doing any of these other things. There is no longer room for anger.

The opposite of “not keeping a record of wrongs” must be forgetfulness, choosing to “not recall” or dismiss the offense. And of course, forgiveness. They go hand in hand.

The last antonym for “not delighting in evil” is provided for us and is a surprise: rejoicing in truth. I would have thought it would be delighting in “good,” but instead, Paul chooses truth as the powerhouse to overcome evil. I can indeed practice truth and with it, I will be able to walk away from evil and lies.

The opposite of pride is humility. And each one of these opposites is embraced in this one word. Oh Lord, I am so far. Give me courage to embrace and exercise those aspects of love that will help me evolve truth in humility.

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