When I was a teenager, it was the custom for boys to give their girlfriends their ID bracelets as a symbol of going steady. I was fortunate with my first love as he was a very romantic sort who would recite the words of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat beneath my bedroom window:
A Book of Verses Underneath
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--
Beside me singing in the
O, Wilderness were Paradise
I had plenty of time to think about the ID bracelet custom, because Emily Mattes, who sat in front of me in geometry class was going steady with Mike Will. She was very good at math, and every time her arm shot up to answer a question, I would see the dazzling ID bracelet on her arm. Jon did not have very much money, but as Valentine's Day approached, I had visions of him presenting me with the coveted ID bracelet, and I could already see the large bold block-engraved letters spelling JON...there was no “H” in his name.
Valentine's Day arrived, and Jon presented me with a box. I opened it, and there was a paper heart-shaped box with “Jon and Tina” scribed within the heart. I opened the box, and there was an ID bracelet made of a paper chain. On one side of the bracelet was printed Jon's name, and on the back was written “Sterling is my love for Thee.” I kept that bracelet well into my adult life.
Emily and I are still friends, and she tells me Mike Will meant very little to her. At his funeral, Jon's wife was kind enough to include a picture of Jon and me taken when we were young teens sharing a sterling love.
Little did I know then how many lessons were involved in this experience. Many of us learn the hard way that love is not all that glitters and shines, and true love, in whatever form, requires some grit and fortitude.
As Christians, we become crusaders for love. As a church, we constantly ask in every situation and through every change: “What is the most loving thing we can do?”
Love is patient, love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, conceited or rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope and love:
but the greatest of these is love.