Purchased with pain.
Is such a thing possible? When watching films, I often find myself rooting for the unrequited love. I'm a sucker for the tragic underdog (see my post on Eponine). If in the end he doesn't get the girl, I feel a bit cheated. Why?
Well, I feel that the answer is best illustrated with the example of the splendid story of Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano is a man in love with the fair Roxanne, who in turn is love with one Christian. Cyrano pines for Roxanne and, in his way, pours out his love for her through the eloquent words, which he lends to Christian. Though Cyrano burns with love for Roxanne, he dares not make it know. For him, it is enough that Roxanne knows that she is loved deeply and ardently, even if she does not know the love is from him.
Christian also loves Roxanne but his words fail him. He is content to use Cyrano's beautiful words to woo his love rather than risk losing the lady altogether. When Christian and Cyrano are sent to the front lines of war, Christian frequently seeks out Cyrano to help pen a letter to properly express his love. Cyrano however, is not content with that. He daily sneaks across enemy lines to make sure that his love is never left without a new letter to read, which reassures her of his fidelity and love. He signs Christian's name to these letters. Once Christian becomes aware of this, he insists that Cyrano offers his own suit to Roxanne and that the truth be known.
Christian is not a bad man, nor a coward, nor a fool, nor an unattractive fellow, yet my heart is softened towards the plight of dear Cyrano. Why? Why is Cyrano's suit more worthy than Christian's? Some might argue that Cyrano loves Roxanne more than Christian and I am inclined to agree with that, but I want to press for the answer of how do we measure that love? How do we know that Cyrano's love is greater?
I put forth the idea that it is the amount of personal loss and suffering that Cyrano endures for the sake of Roxanne. Christian wants to put himself on the line for the sake of his love. He is fully prepared to make the truth known to her so that she may freely choose whom to love. His untimely death robs him of this noble sacrifice and so the only one of the two suitors suffer for his love is Cyrano, who can't bring himself to tell Roxanne the truth even after Christian's passing, for both Christian and Roxanne's sake.
It was the great suffering of Cyrano's love that enshrines him in our hearts. How much pain he bore for the sake of his love! He bears it without complaint or thought for himself. What heart can resist such love? Has he not purchased his right to love and be loved through his great suffering?
Is it not also thus with Christ? Who can resist such self-giving love? It is disarming, intoxicating, alluring, moving, and overwhelming. It is a love that asks only to love and be loved. It is a love that seeks to bring about our perfect happiness. It is a love that selflessly seeks to give us all we desire, at the deepest level, regardless of personal cost. If you have not found this to be so, then I invite to seek Him out and experience that love. It will transform your life in the most beautiful way.
Here are some follow up thoughts in the form of a conversation with a friend of mine who we'll call "Wesley"