I've been lucky enough to get a lot of fun reading done over this Christmas break. I'm on something like my fourth or fifth romance novel, and I am absolutely reveling in the glory of it. And as I was turning off my Nook (that sounds so sad, I wish I could say as I closed the pages of my book...), and settled in to sleep I got to thinking some (at which point I sat back up, opened my laptop, and began to type).
We live in such a fast paced, crazy world, where we go from school, to more school, to a career, and then to a family. Life never stops, it never slows down, and it certainly doesn't make things easy on anyone. So whats the point? Why do we get up every morning, go to jobs that we sometimes hate or classes we don't care about, and then go home to take care of others, with little if any, time to do anything that we truly want to do, just to go to sleep and then wake up the next day to do it all over again? What makes life worth living? It can't be the grades, or the money, or work, or anything material. It has to be deeper. We are all emotionally driven, and at what point do we have to figure out what it is that drives us? Because if we didn't find those special things in our lives to live for, we would just be useless drones in a material driven world.
This made me think about the current book I'm reading in which a woman moves to a very small mountain town to get away from the fast paced city life and difficult memories of her past. And of course she falls in love along the way to an absolutely perfect man who has no idea how perfect he is. It makes me want to live a slower paced place where you know everyone and spend your days helping others and finding fulfillment in the small things in life and being in that romance novel relationship. But of course I realize this is just a novel and reality dictates that under most circumstances you can't live a happily ever after doing only the things that you love with the perfect partner by your side because most of us can't make a living that way and because the perfect partner probably doesn't exist for everyone.
But this also helped me to realize something else, that it's probably that love and that joy for the little pleasures in life that keep us going. It's that drive to find someone you can care for that will always care for you right back. Knowing that you have that one person that you can always laugh with, or cry with, or fight with and still know that everything will turn out okay. It's about that hobby that you get to work on once every couple of weeks that you don't get paid to do and doesn't run on a deadline. It's the movie marathon with your best friends on Friday night. It's the feeling when you're sitting in church listening to a sermon and everything falls into place. It's the knowledge that there is someone out there that needs you. It truly is all the little things. We do what we have to to survive in this world, because like it or not the world works in ways that are often harsh and unpleasant. The bright spots are the little things that you look forward to, like faith, friends, family, prayer, holidays, laughter, and of course love.
That's what books give us: that escape where at the end of the day everything turns out for the better and nothing stands in the way of happiness. Sure romance novels are frivolous, and cheesy, and fictional. But maybe there are some lessons to be learned from them. At the base of those novels is the message that happiness is out there. It usually strips away anything that threatens a happily ever after or gets in the way of the main plot, but I think that's part of the reason why they are so easy to get lost in. That's why we like them, because they take away the messiness and show us that there is something greater to live for.