Today was the service of thanksgiving for my mum. It was a lovely ocassion of people gathering together to celebrate the life and achievements of a very special lady. But yet I found myself drawn not to recount the lifetime and exploits of my mum, but a different story I have witnessed during these last few weeks. These words are penned not from me, but form what I have witnessed by watching my dad in these last few days.
”Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
We all know these words, or another variation of them. Some of us may even have spoken them or had them read for us on our wedding day. I must have heard them recited during at least 30 weddings now myself. For sure, if most of us heard the words ‘love is patient’ we could follow them with the next couple of lines at least.
But, even with the love I have been blessed with within my family for all these years, I have only seen their true meaning in the last few weeks. I have seen that true meaning brought to life in the gentle hands of the man I am proud to call my dad.
If you would, allow me to rewrite them in their true meaning to explain to you how I have witnessed them in these last few weeks.
Love is Patient : When you do not want to take your medicine, when you do not want to go to bed, when you do not agree with me, when you are frustrated with everything in general, when you are tired and grumpy, I will persist until you are cared for and at rest.
Love is Kind : A word of encouragement when you are feeling low, a gentle touch of your pained hand, a goodnight kiss on your sleeping forehead, a sharing of your pain, a holding of your hand to sit together in silence.
Love does not envy: But if I could take this burden from you, I would.
Love does not boast: I do not do these things for praise. Only you and I will ever know the extent of what we go through together.
Love is not proud: Whatever you need, I will do it, whether you ask it of me or not.
It is not rude: I will always try to have a loving or encouraging word, even when I want to scream at the world
It is not demand its own way: You are the most important thing to me.
Love is not easily angered: No matter what life throws at us or how unfair that may be. It does not mean I will not be angered, but rather that I will save my anger for what deserves it.
It keeps no record of wrongs: Whatever they may have been, they are not important.
It does not rejoice in injustice: It is not right that we should be parted like this.
It rejoices in the truth: I have loved you all of these years, that is my greatest truth.
Surely it has protected you, it has trusted in you, it has hoped upon hope with you, it has endured with you, in all of these days.
In all of these I have witnessed Faith, Hope and Love like no other in these last few weeks, months and years, but truly, through all of them, the greatest of these has been Love.”