Love in retrospect

On this Valentine’s day, I decided to retrospect.

As far as I can remember, my first ‘meaningful’ acquaintance with a girl was when I was in kindergarten. I don’t quite remember it now, but I think she was the first friend I met in kindergarten. In primary school I was just like any other boys at my age. I would pull girls’ hair and find it fun to do so. I also began to have a sense of fondness towards a girl. In junior high school, it was a totally new environment. I used to know only around 20 people in my class during primary school, but then I had more than 40 people as my classmates, not to mention those from the other three parallel classes. I met more people and made new friends, but even those few female friends whom I found attractive were just friends. Well, I am not sure if I already knew then that love is different from feeling attracted to physical beauty, but I can be grateful now that I didn’t have anyone whom I regarded as more than a friend then. It is just too early to have a girlfriend in junior high school, at least for me. In senior high school it was not much different. But during my first year there, I had a classmate whom I thought–and still think so–was pretty. One day during a class–I don’t remember why–my teacher suddenly said something which made me blushed. But that’s all about it. Maybe I thought study was far more important than having a girlfriend. After graduation, I moved to another city to study at the university. I didn’t stay there for long before I came to Singapore.

In Singapore, it was like a new chapter was opened before me. During my undergraduate years, however, the heavy workload was enough for me not to think about having a girlfriend. Not that I didn’t have a liking towards anyone. I did have. But even so, a liking towards that sister didn’t grow into any deeper friendship, perhaps partly because of the school workload, and partly because I felt I wasn’t mature enough. After graduation, things started to change. Well, I am still studying now as a graduate student, but as a graduate student I have more control over my time and it is more independent than being an undergraduate. So I think it was partly due to this that I started to ponder about love and relationship and grow a longing for a life partner. Indeed it wasn’t long after that that I went into a quite deep friendship with a sister. I am not sure how it happened, for I had known her since my first year as an undergrad but I didn’t have any feelings whatsoever towards her. But I guess it just grew out of friendship. The problem was, I didn’t know what she thought of me. And so one day I told her that I liked her. The response was not like what I expected, though. But at the same time I felt awkward with myself. After that, I had uneasy feeling with myself, but as time went by, our friendship went back to normal. Now that she is in a relationship with a brother of mine, I am grateful for God’s leading.

After that ‘incidence’ I went into another close friendship with another sister. Similarly, I didn’t have any likings towards her before. It was quite unthinkable. It was about then that I pondered more about love and relationship, and after some time I began to feel not right about myself. I felt controlled with a possessiveness which I struggled with. I loved while expecting to be loved in return. It was so hard to get rid of this emotional possessiveness. One clear symptom of it was jealousy. I knew it was not love. One night I confessed to God that I wasn’t doing right before Him. A few days after that, I braced myself to ask her whether she would consider going into a deeper relationship, and she told me to wait. One day she said that she would give me an answer. I knew it would be “No”, and indeed it was. I must admit that I felt a bit sad, but I’m glad by God’s grace I could accept the answer and the reason she gave me, and I could pray a prayer with her to give thanks for God’s leading. Now that she is in a relationship with another brother of mine, I am again grateful for God’s leading.

So where do all these bring me to? I have to ask God to let these experiences mold me. I should not forget them, for they are memorable experiences. They taught me that ideals are often hard to practice. Sometimes I am scared to begin a deeper relationship with a sister, because I am afraid I will be too controlled by my possessive emotions. Sometimes I see brothers and sisters getting into relationships and I have a longing for the same thing to happen to me. But perhaps God’s time has not come yet. Sometimes I wonder whether I really know how to love. And sometimes I even wonder whether I am going to be like Kierkegaard who did not marry because of his love for the lady he decided not to marry. But I guess despite all these, I need to trust God. I have to believe that He will work all things for good.

Last year I wrote a three part series which is titled Musing on love, which was written out of my contemplation on love. As I reread them, I found myself comforted. I wrote these posts before I moved to Blogger, and I am quite sure some of you have not read them. So here I provide you with the links. You can read them here, here, and here. If after reading you would like to say something, please feel free to leave some comments in the comment box. And please do correct me should you find anything unbiblical. Thanks!


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