Archive for the ‘Love’ Tag

What is this thing called Love?

It is not measured

by gifts great or small,

or acts of kindness

expressed one day alone,

but by chosing to live

a selfless life, with a heart

that does not seek

to take what he deserves not,

but to give back what another need’s;

it is that which God call’s love.


Joyce E. Johnson (2018)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV This is called the ‘Love chapter’ by many bible scholars. I love this scripture passage as it teaches us how to love unselfishly, the kind that gives back, not expects to receive, a good lesson in life. JEJ                                              

“The Greatest of These…”

The news last Friday of the passing of Harper Lee, author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize award for her bestselling novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and her more recent, Go Set a Watchman was perhaps the spark that ignited the controversial civil rights movement. Her characters, Atticus Finch, his daughter, Scout and son, Jem became embroiled in the lives and events of their friends and neighbors. The fact that they lived in a town in Alabama’s south where their neighbors included both white and black people put them in difficult positions, while taking sides to defend that which they felt the need to preserve and protect; tolerance, equality and fairness, whatever one’s race or color, leaving an imprint on their lives from that day forward.

The subject matter she wrote about in her novels dealing with issues of race discrimination became nothing less than a volatile time bomb erupting during the civil rights era with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., cutting short his realization of the ‘dream’ of equality for all, and his own fight to protect and preserve the same.

Today again, we see the rise of conflict, and a feverish animosity of hatred and intolerance whatever one’s color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or lifestyle. It is like the beginnings to a crescendo pitch of the civil rights era all over again with demonstrations, shootings and mistrust in a country that was founded on the principles of equality for all.

I was a teenager during the civil rights era and remember well the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and found myself on both sides of the conflict. I had friends who were black, but I also felt the fear of rape and victimization of those of color whom I felt I could not trust with good reason as I was stalked and followed home from work one night fearing I could not get home in time. We also lived close to black neighborhoods. Later, the aftermath and rape of one I knew, and having been a witness to the crime left me bitter, and fearful, living across the street from where it was committed.

But, it is the hate instilled in one’s heart, whether or not they inflict harm, or worse, death on one they stalk, or target that becomes an even worse crime.

February is designated as a month when Love is encouraged, emphasized and sold by the millions in advertised products and displays. But, need it be just one month, or one day only that we show kindness, love, fairness, equality, tolerance to those who are not only different from us in color or style? Can we truly choose to love one, regardless of who they are? Does it need be only the ‘dream’ of one man of color who lived his life in peace, and demonstrated it, so that love and equality could be realized in this world, not merely dreamed?

1 Corinthians, chapter 13 is known as the ‘Love chapter.’ It says in chapter 13:4-8 (NIV), “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude; 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, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” And, finally, in verse, 13, it says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I choose to love.


Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Posted February 22, 2016 by Joyce in Essays, My Writings

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In Awe at Your Greatness

Like hues reflecting back

splashed across the sky

the earth rebounds,

 and color returns.

We stand in awe

at your greatness, mystified.

How majestic your kingdom;

how great your love,

that you give us a rainbow

in exchange for our sorrow

for the storms now passed

to comfort the broken,

 hurting,  and grieving;

their hearts open, and seeking

in worship and in praise.

You offer up grace

and hope for tomorrow.

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson – July, 2012

Posted July 2, 2012 by Joyce in Inspirational Poems, Poems, Writing

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Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson © 2009


A blushing face under a bonnet one day

Stopped my heart and roving eyes that May.

With swishing skirt she coyly walked,

  Her voice, a soft whisper when she talked.

Could she have known? Did she see?

Could she tell from my look how she affected me?

She was like sweet nectar on a flower to be

  Planted beneath the old withered tree.

 Some will say that love is blind,

  That eyes cannot see what the heart doth find;

 A moment of pleasure, a moment in time,

 No word spoken and no thought of mind.

 Like a love that is destined from the start

 Like a bud in bloom from out of the heart.

 Pledging her love that day to me

We embraced beneath the old withered tree.

But there came another. Bold was he

intent on stealing my sweetheart from me.

“Too experienced in love,” they say,

he charmed his way to her heart that May.

His reputation followed. Stories told

 of “a man who broke hearts, was callous and cold.”

I hoped she’d come back and want only me

to be married beneath the old withered tree.

Her hair in the wind, her face from the sun

  trying to protect me, she started to run.

Wanting to shield me, she came to cover

my body from the bullet, the one from her lover.

She fell silent to the ground alongside me

 her skirt turning red against my knee.

I carried her back to the spot where we

  once sat beneath the old withered tree.

Yes, I was in love, and I was the fool

to challenge her lover to a duel:

the man who stole from me is now gone.

My remorse and regret adds more upon

 my guilt and the sound of the wind like a song

singing a sad refrain of what I did wrong:

it plays a eulogy for my sweetheart where she

   lies buried beneath the old withered tree.



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