Love part 1
If I learn Esperanto, or Welsh, or Serbo-Croat and can jabber fluently until the cows come home -
wherever they’ve been -
or can talk backwards or in hieroglyphics, or even in genuine angelic lingo,
if I haven’t got love, I might as well sound like the National Kazoo Orchestra played through a blender.
Or a Seventies prog rock band at the wrong speed.
If I can be the fount of all wisdom,
covering everything from knowing the whereabouts of the car keys at all times to accurately predicting the stock exchange,
the 2.15 at Kempton
and whether the chemists round the corner opens late tonight,
but don’t have a loving bone in my body,
I am worth diddlysquat.
Even if I am
more brainy than Stephen Fry,
more hunky than George Clooney and
more peaceful and centred than a barrow full of Dalai Lamas.
Even if I give my entire month’s salary in exchange for a copy of The Big Issue, hand over my house to asylum-seekers
and give up my body for medical research -
while I’m still using it -
if it’s not done with love,
I am no more than a pimple on the backside of humanity.
Love hangs around, and doesn’t mind waiting for the postman.
Or your other half in the bathroom.
Love does good stuff for people without needing to be noticed.
Love doesn’t sit there skulking because next door’s built an extension.
Or gone to Mauritius.
It’s not into showing off the new car, or saying ‘come round for a meal’ when really you just want to show off number one son’s trophies.
It doesn’t preen.
It doesn’t count among its hobbies road rage,
swearing at the milkman or badmouthing the in-laws.
It’s not bothered with looking after number one.
Love doesn’t fly off the handle at the least excuse, or go looking for fights.
It doesn’t dig up grudges, find axes to grind
or keep an extensive logbook of the times you got it wrong and don’t you forget it.
Love doesn’t side with the bad guys
or count lies as an endearing characteristic of modern day relationships.
It’s more keen on keeping the good things safe than Yale, Chubb and Churchill Insurance.
Love is extremely big on giving you the benefit of the doubt,
taking you at your word
And making you feel you’re better than you actually are.
Love saves small slivers of hope
And builds them into gigantic, monumental mountains of excitement about tomorrow.
Even when life suggests you have as much chance of living long and prospering as a whelk has of winning the Nobel Prize,
love … never … gives … up.
February 2008 – with thanks to 1 Corinthians 13