Some people – no matter how much you love them and how much you pursue them or how much you apologize – will never love you back or will never give you what you wish they’d give you or will never forgive you.

This is not your fault.

And this is only sometimes their fault (sometimes they are just plain unkind and are refusing to love you back; but sometimes they’ve been so hurt in their own lives they don’t know how to love you back). But fault doesn’t really matter.

What matters is what you do with the empty spaces that you keep trying to fill with that unrequited love. How are you going to drown out the voices or fill up the silences?

Are you going to eat?
Are you going to shop?
Are you going to work too much?
Are you going to try to become semi-famous on social media?
Are you going to play video games?
Are you going to have sex with people you don’t love?
Are you going to drink?
Are you going to cut?
Are you going to numb yourself and shut down?
Are you going to become bitter and say ‘screw you’ figuratively or literally?

Or are you going to keep living?
Are you going to choose life by loving other people who want your love?

And are you going to turn to God? Not necessarily to fill you in ways that people can’t, because if God could fill us perfectly here and now, why would anyone continue to pursue him and why would our hope be in eternity? But what I mean is are you going to turn to God to ask him to strengthen and comfort and enliven and hold and encourage and en-wisdom you in the emptiness?

But then sometimes, they throw you a crumb. And the task at hand is to be grateful but equally unmoved by their silence as by their brief reciprocity, reminding yourself their words and actions are a reflection of them and not straight from the mouth and hand of God himself, that they are just mere mortals as you are.

Keep loving (through prayer and kindnesses), for sure, if you can keep loving expecting nothing in return. But keep living and turning to God even in the empty spaces. There is mercy there.

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