In 1998 I met a nice young Christian man in my church that I took a strong liking to. Nat (not his real name) was playing the piano in church and one summer evening, after the service, I went up to him and introduced myself.

Nat was kind to me and in a few weeks we became friends. I would write to him and sometimes he would write to me. At that time I was just getting over an 18 and a half year battle with anorexia.

I had a poor relationship with my family and my brother was verbally abusive to me. It was refreshing to meet a man who was actually kind to me. I was very underweight and my hair became brittle from years of starvation. To say the least, I was very down on myself and was very unsure of men.

Nat knew this but he became a good friend to me. My feelings for him became very strong. I did things that embarrassed him, not intentionally, and after a while it caused a strain in our friendship. Nat would forgive me time and time again.

Nat graduated from the seminary and moved back to his hometown in Harrisburg. Our friendship took a turn for the worse all because I allowed my feelings to dictate my actions. Nat broke off our friendship. I was devastated. It took me months to heal.

My pastor told me that Nat still cared about me but felt he had to take this approach. I understood that but still my heart was very broken. I loved Nat so much and there were things I wanted him to understand. He had a lot of misconceptions. I knew that the only way I would heal and be able to lead a happy life was to look to God for my comfort and strength.

I also knew that I couldn't allow myself to be angry and bitter and I couldn't allow myself to hate Nat for not having feelings for me and breaking off our friendship. It wasn't easy. I did have times when I felt that way. Losing Nat's friendship was like a death to me.

That was a year ago. I learned that as painful as that experience was, my life was richer for having met Nat and having known what it was like to love him. There are still times it's very hard for me.

I learned that love is not about control or being selfish. We all must take a risk to love others. Yes, sometimes we get rejected and hurt but the greatest tragedy isn't in not being loved by someone but never having known the joy we can have loving someone.

I still love Nat. I don't know if God will put another person in my life to love but I am glad that he has given me a heart to love.

Copyright © 2002 Kathryn Williams