Scripture teaches that God made human beings for relationships with Him and with other people. Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden. He had perfect health, a perfect environment, and could work and play with the animals, and yet God declared that it was not good for Adam to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Why?
While my grandfather remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor, and my mom remembers the Kennedy assassination, I was born after these events and thus have no memory of them. But I will never forget the tragic events of September 11, 2001, just as you will never forget the COVID-19 pandemic. I woke up early on 9/11 and turned on the television to catch the news before heading to class. One of the twin towers was on fire because it had been hit by a plane. In a short amount of time, the other tower was hit, and eventually they both collapsed, resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. This memory is forever etched into my heart and mind.
For the next few weeks, my wife and I tearfully watched the news coverage night after night. Our hearts broke for the husbands who lost their wives, the children who would grow up without fathers, and the friendships that abruptly came to an end. Like everyone else, we grieved that so many people needlessly lost their lives.
But we did not grieve for the buildings. Sure, we may regret how the New York skyline has changed with the loss of the Twin Towers, but we did not grieve the destruction of the buildings as we grieved the loss of lives.
Why am I bringing up such tragic events in a book on relationships? The answer is quite simple: tragedy reveals what we value most. When the passengers on Flight 93 discovered that their plane was hijacked, they instantly called their friends and family to express their love and to say goodbye. No one made a call to check their bank account, or to find out the final score of a sporting event. They all called to connect one last time with their loved ones for one simple reason: Relationships matter most. And we all know this when we take the time to reflect on it. In fact, you know this firsthand because of the quarantine from the COVID-19 pandemic. Wasn’t the hardest part being away from your friends? Didn’t you yearn to be with them? More than anything, my kids told me they missed being with their classmates, teammates, and friends. My guess is that the same was true for you.
This same truth can be seen in movies. Take the Marvel film End Game. While the Avengers struggle mightily to defeat Thanos, the movie is compelling because it is about characters we care about and can relate to. We root for Captain America to get one last dance with Peggy. We root for Hawkeye to be reunited with his family. And we root for Iron Man to become the husband, father, and mentor (to Spider-Man) that he yearns to be.
Great movies are about human drama and relationship. The Rocky movies are not just about boxing, but about the relationship between Rocky and his wife, son, friends, and his mentee, Adonis Creed. The classic film Titanic was so popular not because it was about a sinking ship, but because people resonated with the love story between Jack and Rose.