Who Are You?

If you had everything taken away from you– all of your possessions and your job or vocation, what would you be?  Or, WHO would you be?

It’s a fairly loaded question, because as human beings we define ourselves and each other by what we do or what we have.  We work all our lives to accumulate that which gives us “status”, i.e. a homeowner, a businessman, a teacher, a cop, a preacher, a carpenter, a bricklayer.  No doubt as you read each of those descriptions you thought of someone who is one.  It also gives us a place in society; at least in our society.

But what if we lost all that?  Who would we be in society without the education, training, and experiences that “make us what we are”?

A baby.  We would be a baby.  No education, no training, no experiences to guide us in our life that is now moving forward, and knowing only of being hungry or happy, hot or cold, comfort or fear.

And love.  Love is not something we can acquire on a whim.  Love can only be given, and received.  Nothing physical is attached to Love; it is of itself a “thing” to be cherished in both the giving and receiving.   While expressed in human emotion and actions, Love is both a heavenly promise and a worldly treasure, stronger than any feeling we know.

If as adults we were suddenly thrust into a society where we had nothing, Love would still define us.  And if that is the only thing that defines us when nothing else can, surely it defines us now.

If we cleared away all the hurry, the clutter, the appointments, the meetings, and the rush  in our lives and spent more time on loving and caring for each other, how much better would it be in our lives as well as in our society?   This is not an impossibility, though it does require discipline and spiritual focus.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” was the second greatest commandment Jesus said; the first was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

From the Bible book of First Corinthians chapter 13:
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

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