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.
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?