Beautiful, Wretched Longing

By Banksy
By Banksy
By Banksy

“Unrequited love’s a bore and I’ve got it pretty bad. But for someone you adore it’s a pleasure to be sad.” Rodgers & Hart

I had a crush on a boy when I was 14 years old.  He was older, a high school senior and I worshipped him from afar.  Every day at lunchtime he would cut through the playground at the middle school I attended on his way back to the big kid school down the hill.  And every lunchtime I would hang out in the field with my best friends and we would pretend not to watch him walk by.  As soon as he was out of earshot we would scream and swoon and die, a mess of teenage girls tangled together in a pile of beautiful, wretched longing.

And then I grew up. The drama and callowness of youth was replaced with the steadfast contentment of experience. The lure of unrequited love with all of its giddy highs and tumultuous lows lost its appeal and I settled down to a wonderful life, rich with family and friends. Requited love, that’s where it’s at.

But then came Death. I was skipping along, happy as can be, not a care in the world when that rat bastard Death came to call. In a sneak attack and over the course of a few years Death came and took a great big bite out of my world.  My realization dawned that the hardest type of unrequited love we experience as humans is Grief.  We “lose” someone we love.  They are “departed”.  Passed “away”. Dead.  Grief consumes us and because we can no longer see them or touch them or talk to them we believe they are actually gone.

If we aren’t careful, we will really start believing Grief.

In reality it is that feeling of separation that is the great illusion, the man behind the curtain.  It is only when we look deeper that we will realize the pain we feel is a creation of our own false perception. Because nobody really dies. The fact that we no longer perceive them with our 5 senses is just another trick of the veil, keeping us in the shroud of amnesia for this walk through life. Once we begin to realize this and feel our grief release its vise grips on our thoughts, hearts and minds we will start to see the signs all around. Visions, messages, gifts, birds, ladybugs, feathers, pennies, song lyrics, all manner of crazy electrical horse play and so much more, our departed loved ones are reaching toward us as much as we reach toward them. Trust the signs. Trust the visions.

If you have ever been homesick for Heaven (as I have) you know that unrequited love is probably the closest thing there is in our human experience to our longing for the Divine.  When our love for someone (or something) is not realized, we feel the separation keenly.  If we can rise above the singular longing of unrequited love we can begin to know that this is merely a call to action to love enough for both. If we can love on our own we can begin to trust that the love we feel is echoing back to us from beyond the veil.

When we believe in love, the illusion of separation will finally be shattered. It is then that we will finally understand the truth:  Love. It is never unrequited.

“Can miles truly separate you from friends… If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?” – Richard Bach

30 thoughts on “Beautiful, Wretched Longing”

  1. Even though I’m not a believer I thought you piece was quite lovely. Often I think the things we want define us, whether or not we ever get them. I guess that’s just another way of saying, it’s the thought that counts, or defines.

  2. There is an African proverb that as long as a person is remembered that are not dead. And now, I find that I treasure every moment with those I love, because I remain aware no one knows when death will wrap her arms around us or kiss our lips. But, she is as much part of this life as birth. Thanks for sharing so poetically your journey to understanding loves eternal presence.

    1. That is a wonderful philosophy and I strive to do the same every day. And maybe, like birth, there is a big celebration on the other side when somebody crosses over. What is so sad for us is likely a joyful time on the other side as everyone is reunited after a great long time away.

  3. “Death took a great big bite out of my world.” That so expresses the hole left by the absence of a loved one. And you are right, I think–they are never truly gone. the richard Bach quote reminds me of Rumi’s consoling words:
    “The minute I heard my first love story,
    I started looking for you, not knowing
    how blind that was.
    Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
    They’re in each other all along.”
    Before, during, and after this go-round?

    1. I am sorry for your losses <3 Knowing the spiritual truth about death doesn't make missing our loved ones easier. Sometimes all we want is to be able to see them, or speak to them one more time. It is comforting to know that we will be together some day, and then we will have an eternity to catch up.

I'd love to hear your thoughts...