“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…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 NIV
Ten years ago, my niece asked me to read these words at her wedding. My father would have been the one to give this reflection but with his passing a few months before, the honour had been given to me.
As I practiced reciting the words, my anxiety increased. How could I replace the calm eloquence that emanated from his voice? How would I be able to read without a flow of tears? My grief was still fresh.
And then the day came. My niece was radiant and filled with anticipation as she took a step into her future. With family and friends gathered around, it was my turn to stand before the audience to read the definition of love.
And then something happened – something that reminded me of my father. The microphone did not work, even as I tapped it for a sound. How many times had my Father worked with technology that went astray?
When the “sound” came back, the words came as if my Father stood beside me, reciting the well known and beloved words together.
Love does not end when there has been a farewell or a parting. It remains within us, integrated with memories that come to mind of events and milestones. Love remembers the advice that was given, the decisions made together and those marvelous moments of community.
Faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest is these is love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!