Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I Learned in Germany - Unrequited Love and Time Wasted on Hope

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got back from a week in Germany on Sunday, November 2nd, 2009. It was a crazy trip as my friend and I discovered that their father had passed away while we were out hiking.

One of the things I saw in Germany was the profound sadness of unrequited love. There is a certain nobility in loyal love and persistent attention for "the one". Often we are wowed and inspired by stories of grand gestures and enduring patience ending in heartwarming love.

When we read these stories, we already know that in the end it will work out to a happily-ever-after. When we're in it, however, it's different. We need persistence.

But what if there really is no hope? That the other party simply doesn't feel the same way, and tries to tell us clearly and unambiguously that it will never be? How much persistence is enough, and how much is simply wasted time?

For a long time now, I've decided that I will love my friends however much I feel love for them. I don't care if I do more, give more, or love more. Give freely because you want to. Never expect, ask, or hope for anything in return. In fact I feel it's sad and complicates our friendship if someone does something for me out of gratitude.
But I also tell myself not to wait for anyone. Because they might be waiting for someone else (and sometimes it's surprisingly hard to say that, to dash hope away). Cherish friendships for what they are now, not what you hope they will become in the future.
We can only control what we can do, and, of course, we can choose to have hope. But we can't control anyone else, and in love, it takes two.

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