If there is such a thing called true love, I believe I have felt it before, but only once. It was that love at first sight kind of love. Not counting elementary school, I've only had one girlfriend in my life, but that was a totally different situation. That was a choice to love, but without her making the choice back, that love couldn't last.
But the true love I felt, if there is such a thing, wasn't a choice. It just was. She was it. The one. I dreamed about her and wrote love poems about her, but I felt we were worlds apart. She was fashionable and popular and wildly outgoing, but I was introverted, geeky and just plain. How could a girl like that ever take notice of me?
But I had some leverage. We both had a mutual friend, and that friend agreed to give us opportunities to hang out at parties and random get togethers. The more I was around her, the more I longed to be with her. One time she started sharing about her interest in the then recent novel series The Hunger Games, and she allowed me to borrow the books. It was for that reason that I started my new career writing novels.
If you've never read the series, all I will say is there is a girl who is in love with a boy she grew up with, but she never realized there was another boy who loved here even more. This second boy sacrificed everything for this girl, but she never seemed to notice who he really was.
I was that second boy. I just wanted her to notice me for who I was, unable to be the boy she seemed to desire. But then the first boy appeared in her life. It was another mutual friend who started coming to our parties, and without me realizing it, they were falling in love right in front of my eyes.
The time I really noticed it was when we were on a bus together. There were not enough seats, so some people had to stand up. That girl was one of those people, along with the boy who was stealing her away from me. They were standing in the middle of the bus, pushing each other back and forth. The girl was nearly falling over each time and all I wanted to do was protect her, so I stood behind her, unable to get her attention, but at least if she fell, I could catch her.
She never fell.
The entire bus ride, they were laughing and flirting, falling for each other as I stood behind her, neglected and unseen. I couldn't become the person she longed for. She wanted someone who was successful financially and confident socially. I was willing to give everything for Jesus and never knew how to say the right thing. I was his opposite in many ways, and though I would have done absolutely anything for that girl, she didn't know.
So I told her the truth. My feelings were so strong and I knew I was running out of time, so I shared everything I felt and then waited as she considered my words. Those days were agonizing, having to wait for her reply, but finally it came. She called me. Hearing her voice made me come alive.
I loved her.
And then she told me her decision. She loved the other boy. She didn't love me. I was crushed. I never knew how painful emotions could be until that moment.
Have you been there?
I've learned that no matter if it's true love or a choice to love, I have no power over another person's desire or choice to love me back. In both cases, they weren't willing, even though I was willing to love them.
I believe God's love for us is both true and a choice. He is wildly jealous for us and though we rejected him, he still chose to send his Son to purchase us back from sin and darkness. Just as we've been heart broken, I believe God has been, too.
Jesus felt the same things I did when his people rejected him. And he felt the same thing when we rejected him, too. And yet he still offers forgiveness. He is still willing to love us. He is still waiting for us to respond with the same choice.
Will we receive his acceptance and forgiveness?
Will we love him back?