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I learned to love

I learned to love by failing
for more than thirty years:
My efforts unavailing
Persisted through my fears.

I learned to love by losing,
By giving up the ground;
I learned to love by choosing
To keep what I have found.

I learned to love by staying
When hope for love was lost;
I learned to love by praying
And counting up the cost.

I learned to love by seeing
That love is more than life.
I learned to love by being
A husband to my wife.

(additional stanza offered on October 12, 2008 by Brent Jones):

I learned to hope by living,
And seeing things transformed,
And knowing through forgiving,
My soul can be reformed.