Love for the Win!

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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. (I Corinthians 13: 4-8)

Do these verses look familiar to you? I’ve heard them my entire life. They were read and spoken at my own marriage ceremony over twenty-nine years ago – perhaps at some of yours, too! Though most often associated with weddings, the words in these verses have deep meaning and can likely be applied to any of our committed relationships. Read them again. See? When reading these verses, I immediately think of my husband, and also of the unconditional love I have for my children. I have friends that I love like family – they fit in here, too. Love is a peculiar thing. It can happen suddenly or over time. Sometimes you can see it coming a mile away, other times it can leave you completely blindsided. It doesn’t always follow the rules – sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. Love is love – no matter how you spin it.

Last weekend my husband, daughter and I were blessed to be able to share in the wedding of some precious friends. There were guests from across several states, some related to the couple by their DNA, most connected to them by the heart. The celebration took place on a gorgeous afternoon overlooking the river, which later turned into a picturesque backdrop at sunset. The flowers were breathtaking, the food and spirits scrumptious, and the venue quite elegant. Though had you been in attendance, you would likely have noticed that the grandest decorations of the day did not arrive in trucks or catering vans, nor were they carried around on sterling silver trays. The most delightful accessories of the evening were the smiles worn on the faces of each guest in attendance, and the love that hung in the air.

Interestingly enough, practically all the guests were strangers to one another. Except for some of their family, the majority of the friends present were from various points of time in the couple’s lives. While many knew of each other, most had never actually met until that evening. On this evening, however, we would come together for one distinct purpose – to celebrate these two amazing humans whom we all loved. From the moment the guests began arriving in the courtyard, the hugs and introductions began. “OH! You worked with ?” or “I recognize you from pictures on Facebook!” or “You must be ?! I’ve heard so much about you!!” – and so it continued well into the evening. There was kindness all around!

Due to a few unforeseen circumstances, the ceremony was a little late getting started, so we all sat peacefully. No one was impatient or angered, but greatly at ease, looking around, taking in the beauty of the evening, and talking quietly to one another. I couldn’t help but look at the faces of everyone seated there. Each of us uniquely special to the couple in some way, all brought together to rejoice with them on their special day. As the couple stood before us and spoke their vows, there was laughter, some tears, and a spirit of hope for them as they began this new adventure together. We all watched as they proclaimed their love selflessly to one another and vowed to protect each other in good times and trials. Surely, trials will come, but this couple will no doubt face them head on. They will face them together and they will face them linked arm in arm with all those who came to delight in the truth of their love that day. They can trust they will not face them alone.

As the evening continued, there was delicious food, festive drink and much laughter. There were funny stories, loving toasts, and joyful dancing. In the course of those few hours, we all became family united by the love of the couple we had come to celebrate.

I was reminded of a beautiful song by Brandon Heath called, “Love Never Fails’. My husband has sung it many times – I love listening to the words. They are taken from the verses above and are simple, yet meaningful. The words remind us that, “… love doesn’t cease, it does not hide, or run away.” Rather, it “…believes, sustains, and matters.” The last lines of the song go as follows:

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you

Have you ever had something stay with you long after it was over? For days now, I can’t seem to get this past weekend out of my mind. Out of the blue, I’ll have a thought that brings a smile to my face. Somehow, I imagine it will be this way for quite some time. There were so many special parts – I know I’m going to tuck some of those sweet memories away for safe-keeping.

You wouldn’t think one simple wedding would occupy my thoughts all week long, but this wasn’t just any wedding. Theirs was a union of souls – many souls. It was a wedding that joined the hearts of all of us in attendance. Our lives will be forever connected to theirs by that significant moment. Hopefully, each of us who gathered with them will recall the joy and the hope that was felt there that day. I hope we will hold fast to the love that was abundant in that place and remember how it flowed and washed like a river over all of us. In the coming days, I pray we will hold this dear couple in our hearts as a testament and a beautiful promise that in the end, it’s all that really matters. Nothing is greater. Love never fails. Love always wins.

Sincerely,

Beth

– with my husband and daughter.

Published by Elizabeth Sharpe

My name is Elizabeth Sharpe, but to most, I'm just "Beth". I am a wife, mom, educator, and lover of all things good and kind. I love to share my stories and reflections to connect with others. It is my hope to encourage and inspire readers in some small way as we journey life together.

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