Every morning he sits in the same place. He drinks the same cup of coffee, black with two sugars. It is a quiet start to every day, but one that he is hesitant to miss. He knows they will only ever be friends, but still there he sits in the same cafe where she works. She knows how he feels, but is unmoved. He deep feelings for her are unrequited.
The scene above is fictional, but the feelings are all too true? Have you ever felt this way? You adore someone that hardly notices you. You profess love for someone that can not say the same. You are full of emotion and yet, it all sits inside. It is heartbreaking. What you feel for someone is not returned in kind.
Just to be clear, what does this word mean?
Unrequited – (of a feeling, especially love) not returned or rewarded.
I have felt this way before. There have been potential friendships in the past where I invested a lot of energy, but the energy was not returned. I have shared my enthusiasm for ideas, and the ideas fell flat. I have expressed romantic interest, only to have that interest turned away. I know what unrequited feels like.
It can be debilitating. If we let it crush us, it can keep us down. We start to see the lack of reciprocation as a personal short coming. The fact that what you are offering is not return can would deeply. But…
If we look at this a different way I think we would discover a few things:
1. If I love someone, what I give does not have to be returned for me to love them. Real love doesn’t work that way. One of my favorite scriptures says it this way:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
2. If someone does not return what you give, it is just a chance to give that to someone else. If I offer friendship to someone and they don’t return it, I have done my part. Sure, it stings, but I still have that friendship to offer another.
3. I refuse to let my worth be determined by a rejection. Nope. Not going to happen that way. My worth is defined by who God says I am. I am His child. I have worth because He loves me. Jesus came to Earth so we could have life with God. I will let that define my worth.
I look back and I see things clearer. I see those unrequited times. In many ways I am thankful for them. They may have hurt in the moment, but I like who I am and where I am. Many of those experiences helped push me along the way.