When Love Must Die
Joe Clark ~ Apr 14, 2002

Today I am reminded of a song by the group Queen. There's a line in one of their songs that says, "Who wants to live forever...when love must die?" What an interesting line! I've tried for years to figure out what that line means exactly. I think it has many meanings, but over the last few months I have become aware of one specific type of situation that seems to fit this line quite well.

Before I reveal this situation, be aware that I'm not really taking sides. I'm just presenting the way I would almost surely think if I was caught in the situation. Also be aware that I am referring to specific situations, but I will do my best to present my thoughts without doing that accursed judging thing.

So, imagine that you are dating someone (whatever that means). You do things together, spend a lot of time together, etc. etc. There may even be thoughts in one or both of your minds about engagement and marriage. Although you don't call it courtship, there is little difference between the monogamous dating you are involved in and courtship.

Into your world of bliss comes a bombshell revelation: your significant other feels God leading his or her heart away from the relationship. They may not be able to explain it, but they have prayed a great deal about it and feel that their decision is the right one. You, on the other hand, although you are just as careful to listen for God's leading, have had no such revelation, and were generally happy with the relationship and how you were growing closer to the other person.

Thus in one quick moment, the love that had been building in your mind and heart has been disregarded and marked as inadequate. You are being asked to turn off the "love pipe" at a moment's notice. Of course, no one expects you to turn the valve completely off in a day or a week, but the general idea is "the sooner the better". In the mean time, while you are trying to sop up the mess from the excess love spilling out, the other person is moving on, perhaps even opening up their love pipe to someone else, which seems to you to be further belittlement and estrangement.

There we have the situation. What should we say about such things? I guess, in the grand scheme of the world, or at least our culture, such things happen all the time...people date, people break up, such is life. But that does not always help to stop the pain (although it can help to share with people who have similar circumstances).

One difference between this situation and the world in general is that this entire scenario is based on a Christian perspective. Thus it is not just a person being mean or a person being unforgiving -- it's a matter of God's will and God's direction and God's consoling. Does God (the God of love, whatever that means) ever create situations such as these, with so great a feeling of unrequited love, or is it always the fault of one or both involved parties? Who can argue with "God told me so" (and when if ever do we have a right to?)?

With these and other similar questions, I think about my own situation. I am free from the pain of relationships (oh joy for me). I am not exactly happy about that freedom at times, since I have also seen or vicariously felt the joys of relationship as well. But situations such as these do much to appease me in my singleness, realizing that relationships appear to cause much evil and suffering ("should we all be Shakers?"). Honestly, though, they also make me think to myself, "Come on people, how hard can it be?", and make me impatient for my turn to try and not create such sad situations. That, by the way, is my stupid lack of experience talking in such sweet happy terms.

So I conclude where I began -- with the line from the song. Love is a strange thing. We'd like for love to last forever. In Jesus' terms, we know and believe that God's love does last forever. But we apparently partake in a heinous mistake when we think that people can satisfactorily emulate and reflect God's love. As much as I'd like to see enduring "love with skin on", that barely seems possible in life. So how should we react "when love must die"? That is the question being answered all around us every day. Most find that "time heals all wounds" (as much as we all hate to admit it early on), and most learn from the pain in the end.

So perhaps the painful words of the song are only stepping stones to greater understanding. Perhaps looking back in years to come, our most cherished memories will be those times of trial from which we have emerged scarred but stronger. That is, in the end, the optimistic view. But in the heat of the situation, the optimistic view is less than satisfactory, and hence there has to be a time of letting go (or lack thereof), a time of pain, and a time of writing songs with the lyrics like "who wants to live forever...when love must die".