On Friday I started reading a book called Out of Time by Monique Martin. It's a time travel mystery and the first of a series. Being the first it lacks pace and the time travel/mystery elements have so far, (I'm up to chapter 15), been incidental but I love it. I love it because I have become totally engrossed in the relationship between the two main characters, Simon and Elizabeth. I love them and I don't care what time they are in, or where they are. I am completely wrapped up in them, as they are in each other. The author has made me care about Simon and Elizabeth. She has connected with me through these characters.
This is what makes fiction work: connection. We all want to be connected to other people, even if it is vicariously through fictional characters. We want to know that other people feel how we feel, that someone understands us. That others have experienced what we have. We don't want to be alone. We want to belong.
This hunger we have for connection is why we love movies and books, and music as well. We have feelings, and sometimes through these media we find clearer and truer expressions of these inner passions.
We also seek out other people with whom we can share our lives through conversations, and relationships. However, interactions with real people are infinitely more complex, and much more dangerous. With the risk though comes the promise of much greater reward, and the reward, the prize of loving someone, and being loved by them is considered by most of us, to be worth the fight.
Being connected to another human is at the very heart of our search for meaning. We cannot console ourselves, nor make sense of ourselves, or of the world in which we live, without an external point of reference. We need others because we were designed for relationships. The problem is most people think they can complete themselves in a relationship. Everyone is looking for the Jerry Maguire moment, "You complete me." The truth is that we cannot complete each other. We are broken. Broken plus broken does not equal fixed. We connect to each other through the highs and lows, the suffering and the joy, we help each other and we should comfortably rely on each other but we cannot complete each other. That is a fairytale.
If you want the fairytale, stick to fiction and don't participate in real life. Let's accept our brokenness, and love each other the best way we can, and cease the counter-productive quest for perfection.