My general rule is to never read anything by Nicholas Sparks. His books are all the same. Someone always dies. It’s not a happy formula. Yes, their lives are forever altered by the one who was sacrificed for the sake of the story, but still. It’s depressing. I think his only really good book was The Notebook, the rest just make you want to kill yourself.
Or so I thought.
A friend told me I had to read The Wedding, a sequel of sorts to The Notebook. Since that was the only book of his I liked, I was willing to give it a shot.
I’m glad I did.
Wilson and Jane (Noah and Allie’s daughter) have been married for 30 years. Over the years he provided well for his family physically but wasn’t really present emotionally. Wilson let Jane run the house and he ran his law practice. On the eve of their daughter’s wedding he tries to rekindle her feelings for him afraid he is going to lose her.
The story is beautiful. The sentiment feels genuine. I forgot that one of the things I like about Sparks is that he tells the love story from the man’s point of view. We get to see his emotions and thoughts. A simply put the story is beautiful. Reminds you that the best relationships require work and care. We can’t take each other for granted.
It’s a beautiful story told in the spirit of The Notebook.
”In God’s search to find us, he enters every dark corner of life. Thus, our saving hope is not to be rescued from the dark world but to live in the darkness by the light of Christ. It follows that we can spend a lot less time praying for deliverance from how it is and more time asking to see the face of God in every circumstance.”
– Craig Barnes (Yearning)
I got this quote from a friend this week and it is so true. I would add that our experience of grace in these dark corners really depends on our ability to be vulnerable and open to the depths of the blackness. Do we try to shine the light ourselves cheapening the experience of grace or do we really reflect who he is even in our weakness, defeat, horror, shame and/or sin?
Our last love language is physical touch.
Whatever there is of you resides in your body. To touch your body is to touch you.
I love that quote and description. It really puts a different perspective on touch and why its so important. To touch your body is to in essence affect who you are and make contact with your soul. We need to protect our bodies as much as we protect our minds and hearts.
In the book, Chapman identifies four different kinds of touch: appropriate and inappropriate, implicit and explicit. The first pair don’t need definiting. Implicit touches are subtle, fleeting or even accidental. It can be a quick touch to the hand or shoulder. It can imply understanding, emphasis and is okay with people we hardly know.
Explicit touch demands full attention, takes more time, and requires knowledge of and a relationship with the other person. It’s the different between a two pat hug and “leaning.” (Points to those who recognize that reference from “While You Were Sleeping.) It can be sexual, a massage, a good hug, a kiss or even the annoying pinch on the cheek from an aunt.
“Physical touch is a powerful communicator of love. In a time of crisis, more than anything we need to feel loved. We cannot always change events, but we can survive if we feel loved.”
It’s amazing how in moment of pain all we need is a hug. Just somone who is willing to reach into the emotion and let us know that we are not alone. When you think about singles and physical touch its alarming how long some go without being touched in a meaningful manner.
In my small group we always hug one another when showing up and leaving. At first it was a little awkward. I didn’t know them very well and it seemed odd. But now I look forward to it. It has become love to me over time. It is more than just custom or what we do. I like it.
This chapter can’t exclude sexual touch from the conversation. Chapman provides an overview of the sexual revolution and how it has damaged our use of sex. Sex isn’t about satisfying an animal instinct. It shouldn’t be used just to feel better because in the end it errodes our view of love and connection. Our sexuality isn’t limited to our bodies but is an expression of our wholeness through commitment to one person. When we reduce it to just a carnal act we effectively remove the divine from it.
A chapter on physical touch must also include its shadow side – abuse. Physical touch can be perverted causing physical harm to another. This inappropriate touch is destructive and debilitating. In a dating relationship this can be excused as love and ignored but it will get worse if left unchecked.
Real love doesn’t take advantage or use force. It is gentle, appropriate, and it waits for the right time and place to be expressed.