Poem of Adoration

February 23, 2015

Have you ever had to learn something and it sticks with you forever?  Maybe it was mom’s favorite chili recipe.  Maybe it was how to knit because of Grandma or how to format HTML because you had a customizable MySpace (can I get a witness?).  Regardless of what that “something” was, you learned it once, repeated it, and now it is ingrained within.  

That is the way this poem is with me.  I had to memorize and present this poem in front of my 7th grade English class.  Though I failed to recite this half-memorized poem at the time, it has been stuck with me ever since.  

How Do I Love Thee?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints.  I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and if God choose

I shall but love thee better after death.


I love the overwhelming passion that Browning presents in this poem.  At any level of relation: single, dating, marriage, widowed, I hope you can feel and relate to the hope that this poem projects.  Love doesn’t have to be a romantic love.
Mark tells us in his gospel (12:30-31) that we are to love the Lord with all of our being and love our neighbor as we would love ourselves.  

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he tells us that we get to experience Christ’s love in an intimate way (3:14-19).  Every time I read these verses, I am reminded of the poem and vice versa. 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Not only are we created to be relational beings with other people in an intimate way, but God specifically designed us to have a relationship with Him.  What a beautiful reminder. 

This post was inspired by my friend Terrence at Girl Repurposed who shared one of her favorite poems today. 

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