A couple of months ago I read Henry Drummond’s essay on the Bible passage 1 Corinthians 13. I’m guessing that most people, even those that consider themselves non-religious or non-spiritual, have heard this Bible passage or some variation thereof. It’s one of the standard go to readings people often toss in the wedding ceremony.
I read Drummond’s address, published in 1880, entitled “The Greatest Thing In The World” under a little bit of a time pressure as I had checked it out as a library book and I didn’t want to renew it because I had many other things on my list that I wanted to get to, but I’ve been contemplating the reading and the subject matter, love, ever since.
Something about this passage and his exploration of it has been having it’s way with me. It’s not something I’ve been actively thinking about, it’s gone beyond that. He breaks down love into nine ingredients, which he calls the Spectrum of Love. What has happened is that this reading has moved into my visceral experience of life.
Without making a conscious decision about it, I’ve become a love observationalist. I watch love in action as it is happening all around me. I notice people who are patient with their children, a wife humbly serving her family a meal, a friend who spontaneously springs for my coffee, the woman who held a door open for me when I had my hands full… In my awareness of these nine qualities suddenly the whole world is opening up and appearing to me as this well choreographed every day dance of love.
My heart has been a keen barometer identifying that which is love and that which is snake oil so badly wanting to be love. And one can’t blame the snake oil or the salesman trying to sell it because in the next moment the real deal may burst right through the act. Because the truth is, anyone who is interested in love becomes teachable and is fair game for love to have it’s way with them.
Contrary to what advertisers would like to have us believe ’round about Valentine’s day every year, love is not a purchased act of doing, love is a way of being. And although we can be in committed love relationships, why should we limit ourselves to only experiencing love when THE ONE, the mystical soulmate who I hear we are all supposed to be waiting for, appears?
The opportunity to love, to give and receive the full spectrum of love or to experience any of the nine aspects along the way is open to us in every moment. Love is a way to unconditionally accept and appreciate ourselves. Love is a way of dancing with our heart wide open with others in the world.
Love tells me you look lovely today. May I have this dance with you?