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Monday, March 9, 2020

Unrequited Love

The first girl who ever invited me to a dance has died. Finding details of her passing has been difficult. Apparently, she had fallen ill recently.

We met in my sophomore year of high school in Montana. It was the late 60s and she was determined to be a Sixties child. Her lime green car had stickers with daisies and perhaps a peace symbol or two. She seemed to love the free wheeling spirit of the age.

I’d fill in more details, but the last time I saw her was at our 40th high school reunion. That was ten years ago. She was in a relationship at that time. But she had been in at least one before. The name I knew her by in high school was apparently not her birth name. I was made aware of that only recently. She left a family of older children behind.

Of course I can’t speak for this departed soul. But I surmise she might well have been able to sing the old spiritual, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” The haunting lyrics of this slave song go, “Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Nobody knows my sorrow. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Glory hallelujah!”

The spiritual life of my first dance date is also unknown to me. Between our junior and senior years, my mother and I visited a Seattle Bible college where I was interested in attending. This young girl asked if she could travel with us and visit the school as well. I would end up attending. She did not.

Even on that excursion, I sensed she had a lingering crush on me. It was not mutual. Our life views were quite different. Yet high school is that time when you have a lot of friends, and she was simply one of mine.

The musical family “The Corrs” released a song years ago titled, “I Would Love to Love You.” The lyrics don’t precisely fit my situation, but they do for many. One stanza says…

You recognized my barrier to love
I know there's nothing worse than unrequited love
So I prayed to God that I could give the love you gave to me
But something's lying in my way, preventing it to be

There’s much truth in the lyric, “I know there's nothing worse than unrequited love.” Many a crush has gone unfulfilled because the feeling wasn’t mutual. It’s also painfully true that long term relationships can fall apart “after the love is gone.”

Perhaps the saddest form of unrequited love occurs in a marriage. Here we find a couple who previously experienced deep, emotional connections. They may have brought children into the world. Then the nasty disease of drift began to attack that emotional and complete marriage bond. You can likely finish the story for many couples.

Love truly is a complex aspect of life. It is much more than an emotional state. It involves the will. The heart. The mind. Indeed, the soul. That is why the words “I love you” are so difficult for many to say. Deep down, we all realize that loving another person is a rich form of commitment.

In the spiritual life, one can then see why our great God, Who commits to us every blessing, would be hurt by unrequited love. When He finds a soul who responds with deep affection and appreciation—a longing for His embrace and fellowship—it touches His heart. Jesus came to give us a glimpse of that love on this side of heaven.

As Jesus told Nicodemus, “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” John 3:16  (CEV)

Truly amazing.

I hope you have found somebody to love. And that it’s returned.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

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