The Greatest Love of All

May 7, 2006

Original Post Date:  5/7/2006

I remember a Whitney Houston song that came out in the 80s called "The Greatest Love of All."  I remember vaguely a controversy about it because it was focused on the love of self.  I've put the lyrics at the bottom for those of you who can't remember the days when we had our collars turned up and our hair spiked high.

That controversy apparently rages on.  I posted a comment on a blog the other day where I said the "greatest gift God gave me was me."  I got a response from someone who was indignant and thought I was being self-promotional with that statement.  Easy to say for someone who hasn't had to go through the trauma of growing up gay in a straight world, of being told by everyone everywhere that you are not ok.  Easy to say for someone who didn't go through all that then to learn to embrace your own differences, to accept them, and eventually to love them as part of God's gift to you, to equip you to minister to the world.  Easy to say indeed.

I did concede that maybe I am not the single greatest gift God gave me, but that I am one the greatest gifts.  I do wonder, though, how someone who can't see that can get any value out of "Love your neighbor as yourself."  For if you do not love yourself, then loving your neighbor as yourself isn't doing much good, is it?  And to be able to love at all, I believe you have to be fully comfortable with who you are and what you have been given.

My theory is that what is wrong in the world is that none of us are.  We compensate by sinning.  What do we have to hide if we are truly comfortable with everything that we have inside?  Nothing.  And I believe that God wants for us what our most internal, deepest wants and needs are.  We have many sins that are raised to the surface because we bury those pure internal needs and wants.  Addictions, for example, can be used to cover up an emptiness that is felt deep inside.  Rather than feed the emptiness with what we truly need, we sometimes feed it with a manufactured need of alcohol, drugs, sex, or gambling.  Learning what those deep needs, wants, gifts, and resources are, loving them, embracing them, and rejoicing in them, is a gift from God.  For that I won't apologize, but rejoice.  Thanks be to God for the talents, creativity, wonder, patience, aptitude for love, and deep goodness that is buried within all of us.  It isn't just that I am a great gift from God for me; it is that you are a great gift from God for you, too.  All of us.  Every single one.

I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
A lonely place to be
And so I learned to depend on me
Chorus:
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be

Chorus

And if by chance, that special place
That you've been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

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3 Responses to “The Greatest Love of All”

  1. Zaheer Samsodien Says:

    whitney roxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Cassandre d'Herblay Says:

    I read what you’ve written and I wanted to put a comment because I think what you say is true. It took me quite a few years to understand this myself, how to be truely grateful, and not ashamed for who I am. I learned how to make the difference between being self-centered, and having a sensible, reasonable appreciation of who I am and of what I achieve.

    Thank you very much for reminding me. These lyrics, I shall never forget.

    Cassandre d’Herblay


  3. I am just amazed at how well you write! Keep-on going you are just so good… mary


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