Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love and Life

Tonight I am watching "The Notebook." I liked the movie the first time, and now that I'm watching it for about the fifteenth time, I am finally figuring out what it is that draws many women to movies like this...and this movie in particular.

All of us recognize that we have one life to live, and that we are to make the most of every day that we are given. We are to make the best grades, practice anything at which we are gifted relentlessly and make sure that we guard our hearts and watch our reputations. For some people, this seems to be a no-brainer...a simple continuation of the life that they have always lived. All of the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place without great angst or effort.

But for others, the struggles to perform well in school or find the right path somehow sets them on a course of wandering aimlessly about. In spite of how it looks, all that most lost souls are looking for is affirmation, love, or significance. And for people who have always had these...the attraction to the wide road seems a little foreign and difficult to understand. But wanting to matter, to be the center of someone's universe and to feel valued is something that God planted in each one of us. The problem is...we try to find it through other people instead of through Him.

Watching this movie...where the well connected and beautiful girl meets the boy from the other side of the tracks and falls in love attracts us because of the way we see him make her feel. He possesses the qualities of devotion and the ability to keep his word that seems to be foreign in many young people these days. Admittedly, I would be as upset as her parents are in the movie...and probably would have acted just the same as they did when presented with a similar storyline.

What I noticed is that Ali...the lead female character falls in love not once...but twice. Both are completely devoted to her and her biggest problem comes in choosing between the two. But while we see her hitting the rafters in her love life, we also know that she suffers from Alzheimer's in the later years. So, somehow the pain and pleasure are balanced...which makes her experience more realistic.

In our lives, there are parts that we'd like to improve, and other parts that we take for granted. We focus on the love stories because we can relate to these most universally. But we forget that we have been given extraordinary lives in other ways. And as I've heard it said...if we could place all of our troubles along with everyone else's in a pile...and were allowed to choose...we'd often take back most - if not all - of our own.

I love watching the great romances, and I do envy those who have those. I didn't...but we have a quiet but wonderful relationship that has survived three years of dating and nearly 25 years of marriage. It most relationships do...but we have managed to raise two beautiful children in a home that we designed on a napkin over breakfast one morning (we later involved an don't worry)...with a pond out back over which the sun rises each morning.

I'll continue to watch movies that tell the stories, but I'll remember that those who receive tremendous blessings in one area of life often suffer in another area. Not always...but I think that appreciating what we have and being aware of our blessings keeps us from focusing on what isn't going right.

If we're lucky, we'll find someone who loves us throughout life, we'll find work that makes us feel productive and relationships that make us feel significant. But if we are still here...then we still have purpose...and hope for a happy ending.

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