Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? Like you didn’t belong?
It’s a lonely place to be, isn’t it? And loneliness… Well, let’s just say that loneliness isn’t fun.
We might feel lonely at school, on the job, or even at church. Sometimes we feel lonely within our own families or even in our own marriages. In the worst cases, we may even feel lonely with God, cut off from him.
Loneliness seeps into our souls and robs us of our sense of self. It robs us of our joy, too. (If you know me very well at all, you know that I’m a big proponent of joy.) I can’t help but think of John 10:10 where Jesus tells us that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy but that He came to give us abundant and overflowing life.
This subject got me to wondering. Is there a cure for loneliness? Since we can be lonely even in groups, a simple “don’t be alone” answer won’t do. I also realize that our loneliness can sometimes be caused by issues of mental health that need more of an answer than I can possibly provide. The rest of the time, though? Yeah, I think there is a cure.
If loneliness is caused by isolation (self-imposed or otherwise), then the cure is community.
When people have a sense of community, they feel like they belong. They fit in. They have people. They are connected, and being connected makes a magnificent difference in our lives.
When you feel connected to people at school, you do better work. When you are connected at work, your job satisfaction increases. When you are connected at church, you know that you’ll be missed when you are gone. You know that you are loved. When you are connected within your family, you know you have peeps, people that get you even when you are talking nonsense. And when you’re connected in your marriage – or significant relationship – you have a sense of belonging that soothes the soul. And when we feel connected to God? Peace, joy, gratitude.
Don’t get me wrong – if you are a believer, you are always connected to God. Sometimes, though, we lose our way. We get off-track, or we get hit sideways, and even though we know we are connected to God, we may not feel like it’s true. In times like those, it’s important to rely on what we know, to trust what Scripture says about our relationship with God.
This isn’t a sermon, though, so I’ll go back to where we were – a friendly chat about how important it is for us to feel connected.
Honestly, I think that’s one of the reasons we like romance. When it’ well-written, romance is a living, breathing connection. It’s about people finding and forging a connection so strong that they don’t dare let go. It’s about love and belonging and creating a community of two.
We read romance for all the romantic toe tingles, but we keep going back to it for the heart-strings tugged and warm fuzzies felt. We buy the next book and the next and the one after that because we can’t help but be pulled in by two people finding their path to each other in a way that defies all the odds and promises a lifelong and fulfilling connection.
Stories about romance explore some of the most powerful emotions that humans have. Love, sure. That’s a given. They also tackle, though, that deep-seated need that we each have to have a place, to have a people. To belong.
What else do you think romance explores? What are some of the other deep and wide topics that you’ve seen handled in romance novels?