Sunday, April 01, 2007

A thought on unrequited love

"I've found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind." Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space!"
~ Iris in The Holiday

I often wonder about this concept of unrequited love. Mostly because it seems to happen to girls. Ok, really I am talking about myself. This is not a new thing. It makes me sad to think how often this happens. As girls, we long for the prince in shining armor to save us on a white horse, to do the persuing that is supposed to happen, to unveil us as true beauties and fall in love with us. But we worry so much that this will never ever happen.

I think it has a lot to do with our self esteem. In The Holiday, there is the cute old man who Iris meets (I think every girly movie needs cute old men, just look at the quartet in Return to Me!). He says to her, "Iris, in the movies, we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you're behaving like the best friend."

Now, I think there are different kinds of self esteem. A girl (i.e. me) can be completely confident in the workplace or the classroom or in front of peers. But one must have a different kind of self esteem with members of the opposite sex. So many women automatically place themselves in the "best friend category" without even allowing themselves to think that they would ever be a leading lady.

How sad is that? We put ourselves down thinking, "Why would anyone ever love me?" And we automatically think that we are handicapped, that we aren't good enough for the love of another person.

It is sad, yes.

But how many of us do this with God? How many of us think, "God could never love me, God can never forgive me for what I've done or want me to be happy." My friend Joe was explaining it like this (he took it from Fr. Lanzrath - so there you go!): We are all like cups. God's grace is like a pitcher of never ending water, continually pouring into our cup. No matter what we do, His Grace is always open to us. We may cut it off by our actions (mortal sin being a big one, but I think we can also just choose not to accept His grace). We can turn our cups over and not be open to Christ's grace. But even if we do, His love is still there for us, wanting and desiring to overflow into our lives. How amazing a kind of love that is!

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
I’m accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.

Amazing love,How can it be?
That You, my King would die for me?
Amazing love,I know it’s true.
It’s my joy to honour You,
In all I do, I honour You.
- Chris Tomlin

Father - In this Holy Week, please help us to allow your merciful grace to flow into our lives - Your love is amazing, help me to accept your love with joy.