A while back, I had the chance to list my some of my favorite movies on Facebook. Of course, if you know me, or if you’ve read the postings on my blog, you already know many of the movies on that list. There’s classic “guy films” like Braveheart and Gladiator. There’s comedies like The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There’s dramas like The Shawshank Redemption and The Passion of the Christ. And of course, how can I forget – The Notebook?
Did he just say what I think he said? The Notebook? Yup. Isn’t that a chick flick? Yeah, I guess it is. Isn’t that different than most of the other movies on my list? And again, the answer is yes. Why is this movie even on my list? Well, that’s what I wanted to tell you.
The story behind the Notebook is simple and predictable, but the plot isn’t what makes the movie stand out. The appeal of the story comes in the love shared by Allie and Noah. The movies often show love at first sight turning into a lifetime of happily ever after. After all, isn’t that the fairy tale, the dream above all dreams that drives us forward, that makes our lives complete? It’s a great Hollywood plot line, but rarely a reality to be found in other zip codes.
For Noah and Allie, there was an element of love at first sight. He was smitten by her from the beginning. Of course, she was a strong-willed girl who wouldn’t simply fall for a handsome face or an act of daring. She made him work for their relationship, but once she fell, she fell hard. Their love grew over the summer, but like so many things in life, summer ends. With pressure from her family and the obvious separation that would have to come, they broke up and went their separate ways, leaving both of them confused and looking for what would come next.
Noah reached out to her by writing her letters – one a day for an entire year. Of course Allie never knew of this because her mother’s disapproval of Noah prompted her to hide the letters. The lack of communication left each of them believing that the other had simply walked away. The moved on, but not before Noah penned one last note. The end of it reads…
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever. I love you. I’ll be seeing you. Noah.”
And so life went on. She met somebody and got engaged. He met somebody, but couldn’t commit because of the love her still held out for her. Finally, they come face to face in an attempt to put the past behind them once and for all. Of course, the truth comes out and they rekindle their love. Now the battle isn’t their past, but their present. They have a choice to make, follow the life they have laid out before them, or follow the love that they’ve never been able to fully develop.
Maybe you’ve found the love of your life. Maybe you haven’t. But either way, you have experienced a similar struggle. You see, God made us in His image so that we might be able to share our lives with Him in the fullness of His love. But like Allie and Noah, the road has not been smooth. Sin entered into our lives, creating a separation between us and God. Like Noah, God reaches out, making it possible for us to love Him again through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. And so now as we stand before Him, we too have a choice to make. Do we remain where we were headed, or do we submit ourselves to the Father, allowing His love to fill our lives like nothing else can? After all, consider what God has done for us through the words Noah wrote to Allie. God’s love does awaken the soul, leaving us wanting more. It sets our hearts on fire, and puts our minds at peace. But this is not surprising. God has loved us from the beginning of time, even when we were lost in our sin. This is confirmed in Romans 5:6-8, where Paul writes…
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And so the two young lovers do find their way into each others’ arms but their lives together, while never fully explored, are far from happy ever after. This is made clear in the present day scenes of the movie. Allie is suffering from a mental condition that causes her to forget who she is, who Noah is, and everything about their life. The story of their love as written in the notebook is what always brings her back. Noah completes the story and the love of his life returns, but not long before she fades back into her condition, leaving him all over again. Noah lost her once as a young man, but now he loses her time and time again. In spite of this, he remains diligent and faithful to the love that he holds for her, refusing to leave her side or live life without her. Why is this so important to him? He explains it in this…
“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”
We are the love of God’s life. He didn’t need to stick by us. He didn’t really need us. It is His incredible love from the beginning of time that caused Him to create us. That same love caused Him to sacrifice Christ to redeem us and to send His Spirit to sustain us. We have known the greatest love imaginable from the moment creation began, and that love will never be lost, will never disappear. Set your heart to return to Him every day of your life. He’s there – in all those old familiar places.