Last night my wife and I had our annual viewing of the movie, “Love Actually.” There is no other movie that I am drawn to watch time after time, and I have been wondering what the attraction is.
This movie intertwines nine love stories that illustrate the imperfections of love as we actually experience it including an unfaithful husband, an unfaithful wife, a woman who sacrifices romantic love to care for her brother, a husband who loses his wife to cancer, a 10 year old boy who for the first time is strongly attracted to a girl………… The stories are poignant and messy, filled with complications. So why am I attracted to this?
I go deep within myself searching for an answer, and what I find is the self that has always yearned for love and acceptance. Sometimes the love I sought wasn’t there, at least as I wanted it, and other times it was there and I didn’t recognize it. And often it was offered in a way that did not meet my expectations, and I was unable to accept it. Many, many times I was disappointed, but never did I give up.
That brings me back to what attracts me in this movie. In all of these messy stories, there is no giving up. The message is that love endures in spite of all our imperfections in giving and receiving it. Early in life, I looked for love outside myself. That was natural and understandable given my complete dependence on my parents in the early years. Eventually, I started to look within myself, and as I find love in me, I am much better prepared to recognize and accept it from others and to give it with greater generosity.
This is the Christmas season, and my focus turns to the question: what gifts do I have to give the King (taken from the story of the little drummer boy)? The answer is simple—love. And paraphrasing Hugh Grant in the movie, I have come to believe that love is actually all around us.