Monday, December 17, 2007

Falling out of love with love actually.

Falling out of love with love actually.

Hopefully by now, I’ve made it perfectly clear that I am not cool. The things I do, the things I’m into, the things I write don’t sum up to someone that is particularly hip. But there is a freedom in that, an ability to say things I might not have in the past. Today is one of those times, because I’m about to admit that I love the movie “Love Actually.”

Released in 2003, Love Actually is a series of romantic vignettes centered around Christmas time in England. Some are beautiful, like the author falling in love with his Portuguese maid. Some are more painful, like the love lost between a husband and wife, but all together they combine to make a pleasant movie.

The plotline I like the most is about a guy that is in love with his best friend’s new bride. He has always loved her and has hidden that by being standoffish to her. As the movie unravels however, so do his feelings, culminating in a scene at the very end.

You can find it on Youtube in about 3.7 seconds, but here is my quick description. On Christmas Eve he knocks on her door and holds up a series of cue cards. One by one he shows her his message:

“Say it’s Carol Singers” he intones to the girl
“With any luck, by next year I will be going out with one of these girls.” He then holds up a sign with photos of models on it.
“But for now, let me say, without hope or agenda, just because it’s Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth). To me you are perfect and my wasted heart will love you, until you look like this.” He then holds up a photo of a mummy.
“Merry Christmas.”

He walks away but in a few seconds she runs after him. She kisses him quickly on the mouth and then run backs inside.

He leaves and quietly murmurs to himself, “Enough. Enough now.”

I’ve watched that scene online about a million times. I think the awkward, lonely college student inside me somewhere imagines having a moment like that. Thinking the cue cards were perfect, the words were honest and at the end a little bit of punctuation was put on the whole experience.
But when my wife saw that movie she hated that scene.

This was a bit surprising but when she shared her thoughts I realized how wrong my ideas were.

“She kissed her husband’s best friend. And telling her all those things was about him, not about her. A real gentleman would never have told her his feelings.”

Ugh. I think she is right and hearing her say that exposed something that I guess I have always secretly thought—True love conquers all.

I thought he loved her and the expression of that love mattered more than any of the consequences of his actions. Was he lying when he told her his message was “without hope or agenda?” Probably, but who cares, love conquers all. Was he kissing a married woman in the street? Yes, but who cares, love conquers all. Was he mortgaging a lifelong friendship to express feelings that should have stayed buried? Yes, but who cares, love conquers all.

I realized though, that sometimes, love is like a weapon. And I don’t mean Godly love or the perfect love or the love we are called to give our enemy. I mean the world’s definition of love. Sometimes we use the excuse of love to do some incredibly unloving things. The reality is that for him to ever be with her, she would have to go through the intense pain of a divorce. She would have to destroy her new husband in the process and experience a wide range of difficult emotions.

In order to satisfy his love, he would have to create a tremendous amount of unlove.

I think we mess love up a lot. I think we believe things like you can’t choose who you love, true love conquers all and time heals all wounds. The challenge is that love is the most important thing we are called to do. Above all other things, we are called to love the Lord, love ourselves and love others. And if we bring misconceptions to the very basic understanding of what it means to be in love, I think things get crazy, quick.

So that’s my question today. What do you believe about love? What are those old adages you secretly believe? What does love mean to you?


Marie said...

Hi Jon,

Merry christmas!

I just wanted to say, everytime I read your blog (which I admit isn't all the time only because my schedule is so busy most days and I barely get to check my emails sometimes) but on the occasion when I get to take a breather and sit and read your words, they always hit home. They always seem appropriate, matching something in my life that is tangled and needs clarity. It's uncanny, and cool at the same time. So keep up the good work. I enjoy your are an excellent writer.

Marie Letourneau
From (Goodreads)

Hope said...

I honestly believe that if you really love someone you'll want what is best for them. This gent may have thought he was best for his best friend's girl but that wasn't about love it was about the pursuit of his own needs and his message was replete with hope and agenda. If he loved her so much, how could he leave her with all this to process? Like David did with Bathsheba - this guys fatal mistake was ever taking a second look. There is no honour among thieves. :)

Karen of Scottsdale said...

Love means never having to say you're sorry. Then I got married and I learned that is a myth. Love means you will say I am sorry, a lot.

ben said...

I'm not sure I like the commenting system that Blogger has. Perhaps one day you'll get your old blog back...

But about love. I too enjoy this movie. My wife made me watch it and I was really not looking forward to it, but like everything I do with her, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot.

For me, Princess Bride was it. They had it right. This is one of my favorite lines from the movie:

Westley: I told you I would always come for you. Why didn't you wait for me?
Buttercup: Well... you were dead.
Westley: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
Buttercup: I will never doubt again.
Westley: There will never be a need.

The whole movie is about the love that bonds Westley and Buttercup. That's the kind of love that I hold dear. Well that and a nice MLT.

robyn collins said...

the best love story - there's this guy, let's call him Jesus, and then there's this other guy, we'll call him Peter for kicks... so this Peter guy claims to love this Jesus... but alas, he denies even knowing him on three occasions - now this is where it gets good, even though the guy, Jesus, knows that he has just been betrayed 3 times, he allows this Peter, the so-called "rock", to recant and prove his love back 3 times... this is love - to love back after betrayal...

a myth? something i believed? I believed, before marriage, that I would be the one to dictate the tenor of the romance and "allow" him(whoever that was to be) to be the one. my reality - if both people don't feel equally blessed, you have an uphill mountain. the days that i put him first, are the best days we have...

so - maybe the Bible is true after all! at the risk of sounding like a 5th grader - DUH!

Fayola said...

yeah, i thought the same thing about that scene (um, did she just kiss her husband's best friend?) and about all the real-life stuff they whitewashed in the name of "love": was that the beginning of an affair? what if the husband came to the door? wouldn't the kiss only make him suffer more?

what do i know/believe about love? i guess the biggest lesson in 2007 would be that love does not obsess. fear, trying to disguise itself as love, worries and nitpicks and tries to control, but real love is secure.