Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Greatest is Love

Oh, the endless possibilities a brand new, blank journal brings! It can become anything the mind can imagine…a diary, an adventure story, a photo gallery, an heirloom of wisdom for future generations….anything! I recently opted to turn my new door-prize win into a quote book. I’ve been collecting meaningful quotes and poems for years, but they were scattered throughout all my journals. The time had come to gather them into one place. It was a time-consuming task, but one I cherished; if the quotes were worth writing the first time, they were well worth revisiting. Like old friends they spoke to me of courage, love, and inspiration.

One of my favorites was clipped from a 1979 newspaper. I still have the original, and I still love it just as much as I did when I was fifteen. (You don't have to do the math; I'm forty-six.)

"The Greatest is Love" by Helen Redheffer
(from 1 Corinthians 13)

If I can speak as angels do
Or men whose ringing words resound.
But have no love within my heart,
I’m like a clanging cymbal’s sound.

If I foretell events to come,
Know science, art, profoundest lore;
If mountains move at my command
Because of faith I have in store,
But there’s no love within my heart,
All these, I know, are but in vain.
If I give all I have away,
But have no love, what is the gain?

If I have love, I cannot boast,
Be jealous, rude, demand my way;
I can’t resent what others do
Or from the path of kindness stray.

Real love rejoices in the right,
Does not feel smug when others sin.
It bears its burdens, hopes, endures,
Believes and trusts through thick and thin.

Love never ends, though knowledge goes;
Prophetic tongues are stilled at last.
Our imperfections mar our lives.
Perfection comes when these are past.

In childhood years I thought and spoke
As children do, but now no more.
I had to give up childish ways
When I passed through childhood’s door.

I see life as an image dim.
Not knowing, I myself am known.
I’ll understand – all will be clear –
When earthly ways are finally done.

Faith, hope, and love will never end.
They’ll last through time, and this is sure:
The greatest of these three is love,
The best of these that will endure.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

WOW! What a beautiful poem--right up there close to the original.