Regrets Part IV, Love Lost, by Rich Paschall
“‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
If you can, imagine not giving love a chance. People who passed by love on their journey through life may end up agreeing with Tennyson. Even some who tried and failed may agree. It is certainly regrettable to find yourself near the end of life with a list of “what ifs,” especially when it comes to love.
Many did not have the courage to ask out their high school sweetheart. They may have longed from afar but lacked the courage to say anything. For most, I would guess, it was part of the teenage angst we could not seem to shake away when we were young. In retrospect, it often seems silly. At the time, however, it was as if life revolved around longing for a certain person but fearing the possibility of rejection. Did you let your high school crush get away without even asking for one date? Are you sorry you did not speak up?
In high school, a particular girl had a crush on me (she said years later) but I never knew about it. I did not ask her out because she was dating a close friend of mine. An entire year after they broke up I was in college and she was still in high school, I think. I asked her out but she already felt committed to someone else. I wonder how different my life could have been. I guess I am not sorry that did not work out. It clearly would have been a mistake for both of us. When I ran into her years later at a bar with friends, she wasn’t sure she took the right path. I never explained it to her.
In our adult years we may develop deep friendships, but maybe we don’t let them grow into love, or resist the notion? Some may fear rejection. Some may feel they have to establish themselves in a career first. Others may cling to their career tighter than to the ones they love. When love could have provided far more happiness than any job, did you let love pass by anyway? Many will look back on life and regret putting work ahead of love.
“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.” -Andre Breton
Earlier in life, I spent some time yearning for someone or another. In many cases, I did not say anything. Sometimes you are afraid of what others will think. There are certain expectations for your life and you do not want to disappoint people. You may worry about the opinions of your parents or your siblings. You may fear a backlash from friends or co-workers. But will you later regret not bringing someone into your circle because you are afraid of the reactions of others?
If you are worried that someone will not love you in the same way you love them, then I have news for you. They won’t. That does not mean they don’t love you with all their heart. It merely means they just see life a little differently. Will you regret not accepting the differences and incorporating them into your life?
My best friend from back then married and moved away. We often talked about our intense friendship and how we felt-. We always seemed to know what the other was thinking. We could finish each other’s sentences. I never wanted to talk about love because I felt it wasn’t there for us. He surprised me one day and told me he loved me, but quickly added it was not the same as how I loved him.
Nothing, he said, would change our friendship. But it did.
“True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.”
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld
We may regret it if we failed to speak up. We may regret it if we did. We may regret the prom dates on which we didn’t go — or the ones on which we went. We may regret racing past opportunities because we were too busy or too afraid.
Sometimes love holds out its hand, but we’re afraid to take it. That can be the biggest of all regrets. Love may come many times or only once. Will you be ready?
“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” -Henry Van Dyke