I've actually made some time to pick up a few books that I've had sitting around for ages - in fact, this one has been through at least 3 moves with me, and only now have I actually read any of it.
It's a collection of Oscar Wilde stories.
The first one that I flicked to was quite lovely.... a beautiful story of how we really can't take things at face value.
The Model Millionaire
I managed to get in a few others before stumbling into this one;
The Nightingale and the Rose.
It's a story about love....
and while I was reading it I was reminded of something. I tucked away the thoughts, as I'm sure I got busy. I picked the book up again tonight, thinking I might share it with someone. While I was reading it again that familiar feeling came over me once more.
It was the act of complete selflessness.
A life given up for a greater cause.
1 Corinthians 13From The Message version.
The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
I know I could do with a gentle nudge to remember what it is to truly love, and how it's not actually just the people that I find it easy to share that with - but more so with the people I find it difficult to love.