Christianity gave me two passages and thatâ€™s all I need. 58 books in the Bible, as many as 1,160 chapters, and I only need 2 of them. If I could filter these two ideas into my actions, put them inÂ my resume, and embed them into my voice when my kids are late getting to school; then I donâ€™t need the remainder of the Bible. You doubt me? Read on.
If I just live out the Golden Rule, â€˜love your neighbor as yourselfâ€˜ Iâ€™m half-way there. I love myself equally as I love others. Simple, no bones to pick. However upkeep of my neighbor and myself are both full-time jobs. And they take the upmost care. Thatâ€™s the rub. Whatâ€™s the second passage?Â Consider the 13th chapter in Corinthians. If IÂ make that my recipe for life then Iâ€™d be fine. Iâ€™d be just hunky dory.
Â Â Â â€œAll set.â€ He says dismissively, facing his adventure. But not me, I canâ€™t live so succinctly. I still struggle with ways to face the unknown. Am I prepared for my hike? No, Iâ€™m still ruminating on how to act in a messy world. I need your help. I know when he wrote advice to Corinth 2,000 years ago, Paul from Rome, was inspired. The words are like poetry: such beauty with the reverberation of bells across the ages.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Â If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Me, now at a ripe age of 700 moons, I know something of what Paul says. I can speak forcefully, my tongue is not wanton. Last month an 85 year-old man tried to commit suicide. When he got out of the hospital, I spent 3 days caring for him. Did I prophesize? My spouse told him that for his 13 grandchildren he should live; I told him by his living heâ€™d inspire others to live longer. Now heâ€™s decided to write another book.
Unlike Mother Teresa, I donâ€™t give away all my possessions, because I love myself along with my neighbor. Iâ€™m perplexed about the hundreds of cans and bags of rice Iâ€™ve given. Does feeding the poor without much forethought count for doing good? I do give food donations to the community food bank when I grocery shop, and I donâ€™t salivate with love when I do it: but I like doing it as much as I like buying food for us 4 at home. Last week I bought a quart of chocolate soy milk for the foodbank just for fun.
Then Paul descibes love. I donâ€™t have much patience, but I did wait 6 months for Reina to get her divorce. I raged with her, laughed, massaged her shoulders, pored over legal documents. In court Reinaâ€™s deadbeat husband asked for both houses and the limo while she took the Nissan and both kids. I was angry, but bit my tongue. The jury is out when deciding if Iâ€™m patient.
I totally rejoice when the truth is out. Madoff, Rove, Wilkerson, Blagojevich, and Bryant (and I mean Kobe) need to be accountable to the public. Criminal actions need to be denounced, although punishment doesnâ€™t work. Truth often comes in the face of fear or of harm. So in spirit, rejoice. My brain understands acts of kindness like when I gave a street vendor who was selling a homeless magazine my last dollars. Once at a major intersection, a gaunt man was shuffling between 2 lanes with his can saying US Vietnam vet. I was without a nickel, but I lowered my window to say hi. I gave him some M&Ms that I have stashed in my bag for emergencies, and they clunked inside the can as the light turned green. He flashed me a bright smile, candy rang out more than a dollar bill. Then I came home and my son asked woefully, â€œWhatâ€™s for desert, Mom?â€ I didnâ€™t have any. So I told my son the story of that snaggle-toothed smile from the Vietnam vet. I doubt if that appeased my sonâ€™s stomach.
Thatâ€™s a quick sum of how well Iâ€™m dealing with living in love. I fall down everyday. I dust off the dirt and grime and try again. We are crudely-speaking, animals, and any time we can stride forth in love, well a miracle rises out of the compost. Whatâ€™s your miracles?