The bible says in I Corinthians 13, that love is patient and kind. Love bears all things, believes all things… but most importantly love rejoices in hope. Life teaches me every day even with the example of my mother, that the love of God is incredibly patient. I see this same love in my two best friends, Kalesha and Greg. The first of these friends was someone I met when I was beginning my first semester in community college. When I met her, I had a deep need for a “road dog”. Road dogs are the slang term for that ride or die friend that is for you and with you through every circumstance, no matter what happens. Our journey began with a deep love for music and song.
She was the headliner and I thought of myself as the background singer that would continually reverberate whatever inspired her. Today, she’s married and with her continued support as my cheerleader and confidant I have become imbued with the confidence to follow my dreams and begin my own journey. When I got accepted to Southern University recently, she was among the people to cheer for me, and validate that I was forging a path that might lead to something wonderful.
While in community college studying business, she would introduce me to her wonderful family, her future husband, and her artistic network. This network that would act as a beautiful collage of colors that would demonstrate to me how awesome it is to be an “artist”. She would be an example of love and patience. When I met her I was navigating a path littered with many pitfalls. Through every one of my pitfalls, we would maintain contact. I never felt forgotten…
I was always supported, nurtured, and included. She was always patient and always kind. Even in her lowest moments, she was there for me. She always managed to meet me wherever I was. She has always been compassionate. When she found love, I was very happy to have a front row seat at her wedding. I had never danced with the bride before. I was terrified, and yet it is probably one of the best moments thus far in the scrapbook of my life.
After meeting her, I would meet the next person that would be a beacon of hope for me, in the face of much darkness. My friend Greg, would become another inspiration during a time when I was recovering from a bad relationship that literally destroyed me. Greg would teach me the other side of bearing a relationship with a person you love.
Love is an intimate thing. It’s a act of truly knowing a person, and making a conscientious effort to choose them.
To bear with patience is not easy. To be clear, bearing with truly bitter, nervous, and challenging individuals is anything but lovely. In fact, to bear with patience and kindness is the ultimate test of strength.
Many men and women have physical strength, but there are quite a few people who lack spiritual strength. Many people at the first sign of adversity will altogether abandon any relationship that gets too close too quickly. Only the brave will test a difficult relationship further.
Love is patient and kind.
We need not be in love to love someone. For real love is built on a sacrifice of pride and a abandonment of “prediction or perfection”.
We too met having a mutual love for music. I would learn about his love for percussion, musicianship, and architecture. These talents would pique my curiosity. After much time, we would travel many places together. One word I would use to describe Greg would be “perspective”. There are times when I joke with him about how much perspective he actually has. It blows my mind, just how much we can freely have a meeting of the mind. We can freely express ideas and insights.
As our friendship has grown, we have learned how to motivate each other, and we are always hopeful even in the face of much frustration. There have been many times when I have relied on him to motivate me.
As the holidays draw to a close, Greg has been thoughtful enough to remind me how far patience and kindness extends when you love someone. Love often means fighting to hold on to something, even if the other person would rather just give up. Love means going forward even when you know problems are just around the corner. Love drives you to forgive a person when the human inside you believes that the person hurting you does not “deserve” forgiveness.
Love keeps your spirit strong, even when your body has been through hell. Love re-focuses purpose when you’ve run out of options.
Greg reminded me that forgiveness is very important to our ability to bear with a person or situation that seems unchangeable.
Greg has become my road dog. In our friendship, he’s been a shoulder to cry on. At times, he’s helped me understand myself better even when I was stuck in denial about something.
In many ways, love is an act of self-sacrifice. It takes a unique individual to sacrifice self to bear another person’s imperfections. I think everyone fears abandonment when they believe a person won’t accept their imperfections. No one is perfect, but everyone is worthy of patience and kindness.
Be patient and kind. Realize that “patience and kindness” takes spiritual strength… it’s so much harder than it appears.