Love, Actually is my favorite Christmas movie. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way, but to some people it seems like an odd choice. It does show some depressing snapshots of love: love gone wrong, gone sour, just… gone. But those are real situations, that’s real life. No one’s love is 100% at its best 100% of the time. Every relationship faces hard decisions and rough patches. If you’re lucky, you and your partner agree that your relationship is worth the hard work during those hard times, and together you make it work. Sometimes it’s just agreeing to wait out the difficulties. But ultimately, you make those decisions because you both feel it’s worth it.
That’s when you, and you alone, have to decide if you’re going to put more time into that relationship, weighing the pros and cons. Can you put up with what will be happening? Can you live without what is missing? Can you condone — and forgive — certain behaviors?
A lot of the time, people do decide “this is worth it” and continue to have faith in themselves and each other to power through the hard times. And happy times come again, and there is some smooth sailing.
There really isn’t any such thing as “happily ever after” though, because Life happens. It isn’t static, captured forever in a bubble at the peak of happiness. It isn’t just your life, or the life of your partner; it is, indeed, a question of how other people’s lives intersect and affect yours, isn’t it?
And besides, how do you know when it’s the “end” of “happily ever after”? When could anyone possibly declare “This is the ultimate day of ever after!” What if tomorrow is better still? And what happens when you hit a rut during the happy? Do you automatically declare that’s the end of ever after?
Life has a rhythm of its own. And although it sure feels like it sometimes, Life really isn’t out to “get” anyone.
I suppose what it all comes down to is that Love, Actually is a realistic snapshot in its portrayal of different kinds of love, in different kinds of situations, at different stages of love. And although I am the first to admit to being a hopeful romantic — I collect fairy tales, for heaven’s sake! — I am also a realist. I know relationships of all kinds take a lot of work, a lot of patience, a lot of compromise, a lot of disagreements, and sometimes just knowing that you can’t win certain battles and knowing when it’s time to give in gracefully (I, personally, am still working on the “gracefully” part).
I love so many people in my life, and juggling everyday things — and some extraordinary things at times — sometimes makes me forget all the love in my life. But it’s not really forgetting, it’s just that love sometimes is in the background, obscured by fleeting moments of things deemed “important.” But it’s always there, actually. Love.