Last week, I sat down with my family for movie night, and we watched The Giver. I had already seen the movie in theaters (and even written a review about it for Stuff Devon Likes), but while I was watching it for a second time, something struck me. I used to think the story of The Giver was about freedom and choice. But now I think that I was mistaken. I think the story is ultimately about love.
For those of you who haven’t seen The Giver or read the book that it’s based on, basically it’s a story about a post-apocalyptic dystopian community where all forms of inequality and all sources of conflict have been eradicated. Race, social class, the ability to choose one’s own career, weather, pain, and even color have been removed from the community. Citizens take injections each morning to suppress their emotions. The people pretty much become dull cogs that keep the machine of the community going. Jonas, the main character in the story, discovers what’s happened and has to face the fact that there is more to life than he has experienced within the community. The ultimate question for Jonas becomes whether or not love is worth all of the terrible things that come along with the ability and freedom to love, such as heartbreak, pain, and even war and death.
Obviously The Giver is an exaggeration. We do not live in a world where we are encouraged to give up everything that makes us unique in order to keep the system going. I hope it never comes to that. But there are some aspects of reality within the story. Because the truth is that we all face the dilemma that Jonas did at some point or another.
Each of us is constantly faced with the choice between love and apathy. We can choose to invest in people, things, and ideas that we care about but may potentially let us down. Or we can choose to not care about anything in order to protect ourselves from pain and loss. I’m afraid that too many people have chosen the latter. They walk through life like the people in The Giver, with no attachments to anything, simply trying to get by. And that’s no way to live. Love is what makes life worthwhile. It’s what makes life exciting and fun and ultimately meaningful. Love is the most important thing. How could we possibly choose to live without it?
If you’ve read this blog for very long, you probably know that I’m a pacifist. I don’t like fighting or the use of violent imagery to make a point. But one of my favorite songs ever is by Switchfoot, and it’s called Love Alone is Worth the Fight. Because as much as I hate fighting, if there’s one thing in this world that’s worth fighting for, it’s love. I have no problem standing behind that.
Today, you’re faced with a choice. You can choose apathy, or you can choose love. I would encourage you to choose love, in whatever form that may take. Maybe it’s showing a stranger on the street some kindness. Or sending care and money to a child overseas who is struggling to survive. Or choosing to forgive someone in your life who has wronged you. Yes, all of these things involve risk. They may even involve pain at some point. But they’re worth it. Love is worth it. So choose love today.