Scott and Megan have been on quite a journey! Near the end of The Accidental Marriage, they do some soul searching toward understanding life, love and themselves more deeply. As we reach this final chapter, it is time for them to share their newfound insights with one another. While neither character admits to reaching any sort of final destination, each senses that they are on the right path, and they are on that path together.
Scott and Megan learn a valuable lesson in authentic love by coming to understand the distinction between giving generously without expecting anything in return versus using someone for personal gain and satisfaction. Both thought they had experienced love with certain people, but they realize that what they thought was love was not love at all. Likewise, they discover that the genuine love they have experienced occurred in the most unlikely of places: in their unique friendship and in their daughter Grace.
Why does the friendship between Scott and Megan flourish, while the romantic relationships that they had with others disintegrate?
Scott loves Megan for who she is, not for what she gives him. In fact, most of what she gives him involves a series of unexpected twists and turns that cause hardship and sacrifice. Yet, he generously helps her, appreciates her and accepts all of her without wanting anything in return.
Likewise, Megan loves Scott for who he is. She is grateful to him for helping her so generously, but she never expects or demands his help. And when Scott breaks down, she does not abandon him. Rather, she sees beyond the darkness to the light that is on the horizon.
This is why their relationship works! This is why any relationship works! When we love for the sake of the other, when we give rather than take, when we think of the other before ourselves, love flourishes.
This is not a gay verses straight issue. As Megan points out, straight people can use one another just as much as gay people can. Rather, it is an issue of how we love. Do we love as Christ loves us? Or do we “love” to gain something for ourselves?
“… There has to be more to life than that. There has to be more to love than that. What if it’s more about caring for others, taking care of them when they need it?” (214) As St. Francis of Assisi so eloquently expressed, “for it is in giving that we receive.”
Of course, Scott and Megan are not in this alone. Their journey brings them into friendship with others who exemplify authentic love to them. Namely, Helge Sykes and Francis, but there are others, too. They befriend Scott and Megan in their darkest hours: right after the car accident and right after the scary incident on the bridge. If those terrible moments had not happened, these two beacons of light may never have entered Scott and Megan’s lives. Helge and Francis truly give of themselves to mentoring Scott and Megan, by listening as well as offering insights and words of wisdom. They provide Scott and Megan with additional examples of loving friendship in the purest sense.
As a reader who believes in God, I cannot help but see God’s handiwork throughout this novel. Scott and Megan may not realize it, yet, but His grace is sprinkled throughout their story: in their openness to life, in the very name they give their daughter, in the people they meet, and most profoundly in the voice Megan hears on the bridge. God is with them, acting ever so gently in their lives. He is acting in and through all of us. We just have to be open to His grace—to those unexpected and accidental occurrences that end up being the best things that have ever happened to us.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- Who has shown you authentic love without expecting anything in return? How have you been able to give this type of genuine love to someone else?
- Has someone come into your life at just the right moment to help you on your journey? Who has been a Helge Sykes or Francis to you?
- On the bridge, Megan hears a voice that instructs her to help Joseph. Why do you think the voice called Scott by his given name instead of the one he chooses to use?
- Fast-forward five years: what does life look like for Scott, Megan and their children?
Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week's reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
This is the final week for this book club. Thanks so much for participating! If you want more information about the book or the book club, be sure to visit the Accidental Marriage Book Club page.
Copyright 2015 Sarah Damm