I have a tendency to resist liking things that other people like simply because other people like them. Make sense? Of course not. But I learned that “don’t give into peer pressure” thing really well in elementary school and it just maybe turned me into a bit of a contrarian. In elementary school, I was pretty adamant about not liking any of the boy bands or Britney Spears. I was a sharp critic of modern fashions and I was never the first to have anything trendy.
I like to think I have balanced out a bit and that I allow myself to like things that other people like. Nevertheless, I do like to go against the flow and not adopt things simply because lots of other people do. So I’ve heard people talk about “The Office” for years and I was never really interested in learning more about it. I watched “Parks and Rec” because my housemates were into it at the time, but that was one of the first TV series I had invested in. When I got around to watching “The Office,” I was surprised that I enjoyed it, once I was familiar with the characters. And, being the romantic that I am, I fell for Jim and Pam’s relationship.
While there are many parts I enjoy, one of the most authentic, heart-aching moments was in the final season when Jim and Pam were struggling in their relationship. (I promise–there is a point to this, I am not going to just chatter on and on about a TV show.) In the scene, Jim and Pam are fighting over lack of communication, stress, and the demands of Jim working in a different city while Pam works and takes care of the kids on her own. It is Valentine’s Day and their friction makes Jim want to just return to his apartment in Philadelphia. The following conversation happens:
Jim: You know what? Maybe we should cancel that bottle of wine tonight.
Jim: Yeah. I just feel like I got a bunch of stuff to do in Philly and I’m sure you have stuff to do. So we can just… I don’t know, drop me at the bus station?
Pam: Are you sure?
Jim: I just feel like we’re gonna fight.
Pam: [obviously hurt] Yeah.
Jim: So… how ’bout let’s not?
Pam: OK. [they begin to leave]
Jim: Oh, um. [pulls item from bag and hands to Pam] Happy Valentine’s Day. Sorry, I didn’t have time to wrap it.
Pam: [sees it’s a drawing of hers, framed] Wow. I didn’t know you kept this.
Jim: Yeah, yeah.
Pam: Thank you.
Jim: No problem.
Pam: I don’t think you should go to Philly tonight. I think that you should stay and I think we should fight.
Jim: You really wanna fight on Valentine’s Day?
Pam: Yeah, I do.
Jim: OK. All right, put your dukes up, Beesly.
I love that scene and perhaps it is strange that I do. But there is something about being willing to fight for a relationship, to fight through difficulties and disagreements, that shows the essence of true love. When a relationship is rooted in the mutual understanding that the other person is not leaving and loves you despite your mess, disagreements don’t have to be completely feared.
That is what I need in all of my close relationships. I need to know (and I think this is a universal thing and not simply a Trish thing) that despite my flaws and my weaknesses there is something in me that is inherently lovable. That I am not simply loved when I am kind and generous, but am loved when I am in the midst of my mess. Relationships seem fine when everyone is happy and having a pleasant time. But even in the most perfect relationships, disagreements are bound to happen. It is when you have that core trust that you are able to have freedom in the midst of disagreements and difficulties.
I have always fought differently with my younger sister than I have with my other friends. I’m not saying I fight better with her, but I took for granted that she would have to forgive me. I have the knowledge that she loves me and, as my sister, she cannot leave me. Granted, I’ve seen siblings refuse to speak to each other for decades, so our blood relation doesn’t have to mean we will be friends forever. Yet I know her and I know myself and I cannot see us falling out and never talking to each other. Over the years we have learned to fight better and started to say less things we will regret when our tempers have cooled. But the permanence of the relationship seemed to make it easier for us to be honest.
When I fight with the Lord, I know that He will not abandon me. It surprises me and sometimes frustrates me, but I know that He is constant and His love endures forever. At times, I want Him to give up. But He doesn’t. It is a fierce love that I do not understand and cannot control.
I hope to someday experience the freedom to fight in marriage. Of course, I’m guilty of wanting the fairy tale story, but I’ve always been a bit of a cross between Belle and Jane Eyre so the fairy tale looks a little different. While not always the best at confrontation, I like to argue, to the point of ridiculousness sometimes. And I look forward to fighting and arguing with my husband. Because good things don’t come easily. Because everything that is worth it requires work.
So when I watch that scene from The Office where Jim and Pam are heading home, nervous and eager to fight, I find myself hoping for that relationship. Not because I want my heart to be hurt or want the heart of another to be aching, but because I want something that is worth fighting for. I want to look in someone’s face and tell them that despite the tears, despite the hurt, I want to love them by fighting with them.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Quote source: http://officequotes.net/no9-15.php)
(Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/love-people-together-happy-1530122/)