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New Moon Review--because I have been watching hundreds of screaming girls all week on the Today Show who are anticipating the movie's premier.

I can’t believe that it was only a year ago that I was first introduced to the Twilight series by seeing the movie in the theater. I say that because in the last year, I have spent a lot of emotional, mental and even spiritual energy in the world of Edward and Bella. I connected with their story immediately. From the moment Edward says, “What if I’m not the hero? What if I’m the bad guy?” I was intrigued by his self-perception. From the moment Bella says, “It doesn’t matter to me what you are.” I was impressed with her complete acceptance of him. While it is argued that Ste phanie Meyer might not be the greatest literary talent, her ability to relate to the deep heart longings of people is superb. Edward and Bella’s relationship surpasses most today, which is the reason adults find themselves in counseling sessions discussing the barriers to intimacy that they face. I heard a counselor give a seminar in which he stated, “Every person longs for 2 things: to be fully known, and fully loved and accepted at the same time.” Bella says she is “unconditionally and irrevocably in love” with Edward. Those are big words for a 17-year-old. Unconditionally: without limitations, prerequisites, or qualifications. Irrevocably: not to be revoked or recalled; unable to be repealed or annulled; unalterable. Most women will admit that they desire a relationship inclusive of these 2 qualities. I think that’s why people are drawn to this story. In my line of work with college students, I have talked about the Twilight saga with many different kinds of women, and have found them all to be drawn to it. In fact, it was their enthusiasm that first peaked my curiosity. But the more I delved into the series and discussed it with o thers, I realized that it wasn’t just college women who were fans, but women of every age and stage of life. They relate to Bella’s desire to be pursued, protected, adored, and Edward’s desire to be loved and accepted. Bravo, Stephanie Meyer, for your portrayal of a beautiful relationship!
But wait, things go wrong in New Moon. Edward leaves. Bella is shattered. Their “unalterable” relationship is altered. And even though Edward’s motives are pure, it doesn’t change the fact that he hurt her, or that he made a mistake. Bella becomes a shell of her former self—refers to the “hole” in her chest, and “walking through life as a zombie.” Meyer still hits the nail on the head about human relationships though (and Edward is not even human!)—not that they all end, or that they all lead to heartbreak, but that they are inevitably imperfect.
On yesterday’s episode of “General Hospital” (yes, I have loved GH since I was in Jr. High. I haven’t watched it consist ently in years, but last night while feeding my newborn at 2AM, I caught a piece of an episode on SoapNet), the long-time character Luke Spencer spouted these profound words: “You have this illusion that love is perfect. And you’re gonna bet your whole heart and your soul on that illusion. And when it fails—because it’s human, and all human things fail—you will be broken.” And this is coming from soap writers—writers who base their show on characters jumping into a new relationship, being on top of the world, the relationship failing, the character in despair, and then the character meeting a new “love interest” only to start the cycle all over again. It reminds me of the movie “The Holiday”—Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet are both broken-hearted at Christmastime because the men in their lives don’t treat them right. They spend 2 weeks in the doldrums, only to be relieved by the start of a new relationship. The movie ends on New Year’s Eve—the 2 of them dancing and laughing with their new fellows. Every time I see it, I can’t help but think, “But what happens next?” How do we know that they won’t be just as miserable again next Christmas? They’ve been happy for 2 weeks—does that mean “ happily ever after?” Bella thought she had found her life’s happiness with Edward, and in a few chapters later she is saying this: “The hole in my chest was worse than ever. I’d thought that I’d been getting it under control, but I found myself hunched over, day after day, clutching my sides together and gasping for air”…“Then there would come the point in my dream…whe n I couldn’t remember what it was that I was searching for. When I realized that there WAS nothing to search for, and nothing to find. That there never had been anything more than just this empty, dreary wood, and there never would be anything more for me…nothing but nothing…” Bella’s heartache is magnified because for her, Edward is her whole world, so when he leaves, her life crumbles. I have known many women who can relate to Bella’s situation; however, I know many women who have experienced such heartache, yet haven’t crumbled under it. I think the difference between the two groups is where they look for the “happily ever after” The first group looks in the wrong places. I’m guilty of it myself. I recently heard this definition of “worship”: Worship is whatever we turn to in hopes of finding life. Using this definition, obviously Bella worships Edward. Some of you are thinking, “Who can blame her? He’s the closest thing to perfect a girl can find!” Others are thinking, “She’s an idiot. Has everyone forgotten that he’s a VAMPIRE?!” As different and immortal as Edward is from every ordinary man (or even werewolf men), he still doesn’t fit the bill of deserving worship. Because if he is the source of life and hope, then inevitably, there will be moments when it feels like life is not worth living because Edward has failed.
On today’s episode of General Hospital, the writers uncharacteristically had one romance take a different turn. Hurt after hurt had been piled upon this couple. It should have been the end for them, yet here is what was said:
“I’ve already forgiven you.”
“Maybe I don’t deserve to be forgiven.”
“Who does? That’s what forgiveness is. It’s something we don’t deserve. I’m not pretending that things didn’t go wrong. It hurt…I understand, I’m the one who screwed up in the first place. I ____{insert myr
iad of ridiculous daytime-soap plots here}. I finally managed to find forgiveness for myself, and because I did, I’m free now. I love you with all of my heart. That’s what forgiveness does. It sets you free.”
What’s this? An alternative to the cycle? These two characters ended the episode hand-in-hand on a picnic. They suggest that there could be a different route to the happily-ever-after. But how do we get this “freedom”, this “forgiveness for ourselves?”
French philosopher Blaise Paschal said, ““There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God himself.” Meyer has the correct portrayal of the human heart, she just doesn’t offer the complete solution for the readers. If people long to be fully known and fully loved at the same time, forgiveness is an essential element. Edward reveals to Bella what he believes to be the worst truth about himself: he is a vampire who ha s killed people in the past. She offers him the forgiveness that he seeks. However, she too is human, and therefore imperfect. The forgiveness, the acceptance, that we all long for can only come from someone who is capable of “unconditional and irrevocable love”, yet who is incapable of failing. Paschal is suggesting that God is just that. Only HE can fill that “hole”—that longing inside us all. Until it is filled, we jump from thing to thing in hope that we will be satisfied. In romance sagas, soap operas, etc. it is usually romantic relationships that people turn to in “hopes of finding life.” But in real life, it is so many more things than that—career, success, family, acquisition, etc. But anytime we put all our hope in any imperfect thing, we risk ending up like Bella—searching but finding nothing but emptiness. How many times I have done this myself! Even now, now that I have asked God to “fill the void” in my life, sometimes, I continue to turn to these other things when I’m feeling down. (And yes, once you have God in your life, it doesn’t mean that everything is happy every second. Sometimes circumstances still suck.) But if I turn to so mething temporary, something imperfect, I am quickly reminded that it doesn’t satisfy. And I quickly remember how thankful I am that my life’s happiness does not rest solely on circumstances. I will never be like Bella in the woods. I will always have hope. I will always have security that I am loved, accepted, and forgiven by the only God who deserves worship—the only On e who cannot and will not fail me.
I still love the Twilight saga. I love that Edward and Bella’s journey does not end at New Moon. I love how relatable the emotions are to the human heart. But if your heart feels like it is incomplete…if you feel like you still have that void in your life, I encourage you to seek fulfillment. You can read more about my journey here: http://www.facebook.com/keri.armentrout?v=app_2 347471856&ref=profile#/note.php?note_id=2249289161
Or if you’re sick of hearing my thoughts, you can read the thoughts of others here: http://www.everystudent.com/features/reallife.html
Or if you know that God is missing in your life and you’re ready to have him fill that vacuum, you can find out how to do that here: http://www.everystudent.com/features/gettingconnected.html
If you are secure and hopeful, knowing that God has filled your heart, and you agree with the things I have written, then feel the freedom to share this note with a friend or post it to your profile so that more will have the opportunity to read it. Thanks for reading this far. Enjoy the movie!

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