Things About Failing

A wise woman recently sent me this: 

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

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

It does not dishonor others, 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."

Granted, the words weren't hers originally, but given that she gave birth to me and raised to adulthood (I won't attempt to use the word maturity here) without killing me, she can definitely take credit for mastering them. 

The last line was kind of a slap in the face. Because you guys, LOVE DOES FAIL. I am living proof. Either that, or I have to own that I have never truly loved, because I've failed a heck of a lot. 

Unless... Maybe... Perhaps... The "failures" weren't actually that. Maybe love didn't fail, if we learned. If we grew. If we CHANGED. 

Because really, That's what it's about. Learning. And more importantly, changing. 

"If I speak in the tongues of men and angels...fathom all mysteries and all knowledge..." All that knowledge. All that Rosetta Stone. And for nothing, if it doesn't CHANGE YOU. 


"If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing..." All of the hard work. The sacrifice. If it doesn't transform us, it means squat. 

Us humans are good at DOING. But I think sometimes we suck at BEING. I know I do. I am professional sayer of The Right Things. And performer of The Correct Actions. But do I love as well as I can? Do I have the motivation in my performance that changes me and touches the people around me? Or am I a one dimensional screen of reflected images? A resounding gong? A hollow echo with no substance? 

I don't even know for sure. But I know, like the original author of those words, that one way or the other, my life will bear the fruit. I can't help but feeling like the richness in my life of true friends as well as chosen and unchosen family is far more than I deserve. Really I doubt anybody could be good enough to earn what I have. And I certainly am not. But I'm thankful. And I will continue to seek a love that changes me. A three dimensional, earth shattering love. Otherwise I really have failed, and I'm not ok with that. 

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