Monday, May 14, 2012

I Corinthians 13: Eloquence or Noise?

"If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal." - verse 1 (Phillips)

If I close my eyes I can see a thousand news channels playing at once, from airport lounges to homes to electronics stores to Times Square.  I can hear the rhetoric of activists and lobbyists pushing their agendas, the carefully scripted speeches of politicians, and the headlines of newspapers across the world in a hundred different languages - big, black letters that spell out what we need to know.
But see that guy over there, the one waiting for his plane?  He just found out that he has cancer and needs to figure out a treatment plan.  The woman sitting next to you in the theatre?  She's going through a painful divorce and has to sort out a visitation schedule for her children.  The impatient lady behind you in the queue?  Her mom died a few weeks ago and she's not coping so well.  The man who cut you off in traffic?  He's facing a mounting pile of bills because he lost his job awhile back.

We are bombarded with "eloquence" every day.  It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes.  At other times it is welcomed because it numbs us to what's really going on inside and distracts us from facing our deepest feelings.  If we strip it all away and sit in silence - if we are truly alone with ourselves - what will we find?

Our hearts beat for love.  We yearn for it.  The man who found just found out he has cancer - he's scared and needs his mom (and haven't we all been there, longing for that reassurance and strength?).  The woman going through a divorce?  She longs to know that she's not a failure, that she's still attractive and desirable.  The woman in the queue needs someone to love her in her grief.  She wants to be free from the pressure of holding it together and having to perform.  The man who lost his job desperately desires to know that he still has something to offer the world, that he's unique in some way from everyone else on the planet.

We can offer these people our eloquence (and often do), but do we love them?


Elisabeth said...

Hmmmm. Wisdom here!

wakeupcowboys said...

I think there is something deep inside that tells us when we do love them and are not just being eloquent.