Those of you reading this blog know that I’m working in an ecumenical Chapel and Chaplaincy. I love what I’m doing here, and have got to know so many people from different traditions; the experience is proving to be enriching and informative as well as enjoyable.
One of the natural consequences of working in this environment is it’s made me a lot more aware of the similarities and differences between different branches of Christianity. There is so much that unites us, and I do prefer to focus on that – when you’re working with people or making friends, this is the starting point after all. The similarities shouldn’t be used to sweep differences under the carpet – different denominations very consciously have different ways of going about things, and to pretend otherwise can only lead to superficial understanding between them. The key is to acknowledge the agreements and disagreements, and to see the importance of trying to work together with them, rather than pretending the situation is other than it is.
Earlier I was talking with some people, and the conversation moved away from more general matters and onto the threat of ISIS, and the likelihood of more terrorism and persecution making its way over to the West. You don’t have to know every detail about current affairs to have some idea of the truly dreadful things that have been happening, and, it seems, with more and more frequency. Decapitation. Abduction. Historical vandalism. There is too much to list, and I don’t have the words to do justice to the magnitude of what is happening.
(Note: A few weeks ago I gave a talk, and this blog post is essentially my transcript for that talk. I just edited a few bits to put it more in blog-form.)
So, the topic I’m talking about today is unrequited love. By that, I mean love that is not returned in kind: the situation when you love someone and they don’t feel the same way about you. It’s most commonly seen as a romantic situation, what with the trope of love-triangles and all, but it also happens in the context of friendships and other relationships; sometimes in terms of wanting to begin a relationship with someone and them not being as keen, and sometimes in terms of feelings changing over a period of time.
This may seem a bit of a random or oddly specific topic, but the reason I chose it is that the vast majority of us experience unrequited love in one form or another at some point in our lives, but for some reason it’s not something that gets spoken about very much. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, really; when you’re experiencing unrequited love it’s generally a blend of several strong and awful feelings: rejection, inadequacy, bitterness, helplessness, and just plain sadness over the whole thing. And because it’s such a sensitive issue you could really do with someone giving you some advice or wisdom about the situation, but again because it’s such a sensitive issue, people aren’t all that keen on talking about it. Continue reading →