truth in disguise: dear john

I began a series of related posts last semester titled "truth in disguise," documenting the various and unlikely places in which I discover and learn Truth. Here are the first two if you missed them.

truth in disguise: my favorite song
truth in disguise: my president is black

This weekend I went and saw the highly anticipated film, "Dear John," based off the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has made his reputation known for writing overly dramatic and romantic stories that leave readers and viewers in tears or some other extreme on the spectrum of human emotions. I actually went and saw the movie by myself, not in a sad "I don't have anyone to see this with" sort of way. Others in the theater may have thought that, though, seeing me walk in alone with my popcorn and drink, staring up at a dozen or so couples scattered throughout the theater. It's hard enough looking for a seat in a movie; try finding one that's equidistant in every direction from enamored and infatuated movie-goers, who may or may not have been there to actually watch the movie. I pressed on, found a seat, and plopped myself down with my popcorn and drink to enjoy the movie.

You would think that I could just enjoy something for what it is, instead of learning from it. That's what I am, though. I'm a learner. Not even Nicholas Sparks can distract me from it. It wasn't what I expected. The movie actually had me guessing, which is pretty remarkable for a "chick flick." Savannah and John met and fell in love, promising each other to write while he was stationed in Germany. The turning point of the movie is when Savannah sends John a letter saying she is engaged to marry another man. John immediately burns all evidence of their relationship, very hurt by her actions and lack of explanation. It's shocking because she has been so sincere in her love for him. I found myself not believing that she actually married someone else. The audience and John are left not knowing who she married for a while, and without the visual evidence, I was thinking that perhaps she had lied about it for some unknown reason. She loved John, no question about it. This news was just a plot twist that would reveal itself in the end. With this news, John was forced to restore his relationship with his dad. Savannah and his dad were all he had, and when he lost her, he went to his father and made things right with him.

John went and visited Savannah after his father's death, and discovered that the man she had married was Tim, a long-time friend who had an autistic son. Tim had been diagnosed with cancer while John was serving in the army overseas, and soon realized that it was terminal. He asked Savannah to marry him, not only because he truly loved her, but also because he needed someone to take care of him and his son. He needed to know that his son would have someone to take care of him when he died. Savannah saw that need, and filled it. She married Tim, taking care of him and his son, and ensuring that his son would be provided for later in life. She hadn't explained herself to John, because she knew that her heart would have wavered and gone back to him, and she would not have been able to do what she knew she needed to do.

One of my best friends also saw the movie. She loves movies, but even more, she loves happy endings. She often hates movies that I love, and vice versa. I don't mind sad endings, as long as something was learned or accomplished (it's the learner in me...it never sleeps). A greater good is always worth it in my mind. Well, she very passionately told me how selfish she thought Savannah was and how she didn't understand what she was doing half the time and how she didn't like her at all. I'm going to have to disagree. I think she was the most unselfish person of all. She gave up her hopes and dreams and love for John for something that was in front of her at the moment. She was waiting for John, but Tim and his son needed her then. She could have refused them and waited years for John, but she didn't. She weighed the cost of hurting John, and leaving Tim and his son in their time of greatest need, and she chose the need in front of her.

She didn't choose the option that was the most romantic or glamorous. She ended up hurting John, but she also ended up sending him to his dying father who needed his son's love. She still loved John, and it was clear that she had never stopped loving him, but she put aside her feelings for her mission. Can't we all learn from this? So often I let my hopes and desires get in the way of my mission. But my Heavenly father knows what I need (Matthew 6:32). And He sees my heart.

John saw her selflessness and anonymously donated money to help Tim live at home until he died. And he waited for her. And when Tim died, John was still there - no bitterness. He saw that her decision had been the right one for her at the time, even if it hurt him for a short season in his life. God sees our hearts. He knows the desires we have, and He will fulfill them at the appointed time. It's our job to be obedient no matter what, though. Even if our obedience makes us forsake our desires for a time. He is faithful. He sees my heart and He is always good.


  1. SEB...LOVE this. You're so right...He is ALWAYS good. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Girl! You should put spoiler alerts on these things! I didn't want to see the movie b/c I figured I would cry anyways. :)