Across the Barricades

Once upon a time – it was the mid ’80s, and I was 15, I was head over heels and totally, truly, madly, deeply besotted with a young Irish man.

He was beautiful.

Probably a bit too old for me (but the man I actually married in the end is seven years older than me, so maybe not).

I don’t know what he thought of me really. I doubt he thought of me ‘in that way’. But he was friendly and polite and fun, and he let me tag along with him for a while, and I have a fond memory of sitting at his mum’s kitchen table while he showed me all his gig memorabilia. I don’t remember the names of any of the bands. My eyes were totally fixed on him.

« Wistful Sigh »!

Somebody mentioned unrequited love today and it took me right back to my broken teenage heart.

But actually it was less of a case of him not ‘requiting’, but more of a case of me being forbidden to ever see him again.

You see, he was Catholic.

It didn’t matter what his character was like, his prospects, his achievements, his goals or dreams or plans (nor mine, come to that). He was just the wrong religion, and so that was that.

I confess I have often wondered what my life might have been like if…

…If I had been allowed to be with him, if he had loved me back, if we’d got married (we would have had a beautiful big family!).

But my parents were Protestant, and the idea of marrying across denominations was unthinkable to them. In their theology, my lovely young man was the devil.

It seems so ridiculous now, so petty and cruel and wrong. If there’s one thing I have learnt through my long and tortuous journey of faith, it is that life is too short to hate, and that the most important thing we can and must do as Christians is to be able to agree to disagree, and to love. ❤


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