I like this piece by Tony Rossi, over at Patheos, about Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, who talks about his latest novel, Safe Haven, but also about what he has learned about the safety and strength that comes from making a commitment, either to marriage, or to something else:
Commitment through difficult times has been a factor in Nicholas Sparks’ relationship with God too. Both his parents were killed in accidents and his sister died of brain cancer, so the author admits to having some angry conversations with the Creator over the years. Yet Sparks sees even those times as having a positive spiritual effect because he talks to God constantly. He says, “You think of God as your Father, but fathers and sons hopefully become friends. My view is that it’s less blasphemous than honest. I think He likes the fact that you’re talking to Him.”
The struggles that Sparks has faced incorporate their way into his novels through all his characters having wounds they need to deal with. For instance, in his new novel Safe Haven, Alex is a widower raising two kids on his own while Katie has secrets she fears will bring harm to herself and others. The author believes these wounds are what make his characters relatable because everyone strives to recover from problems and pains. He says, “It’s your wounds as well as your successes and how you deal with them that really define who you are as a person.”
The importance of commitments — and the “safe havens” that can be established within them — has played itself out in Sparks’ life in other ways. In the years he spent as track and field coach for New Bern High School, Sparks helped many teens with tough backgrounds gain a new definition of themselves as people. He not only led the team to state and national championships, but New Bern High School was recently voted the greatest high school relay team in history. How did he do it? The longer he coached, the more he realized that success depended more on mental attitude than physical training and telling them over and over, “Champions perform best when it counts the most.”
You can read more here.
On a related note, Pope Benedict XVI made a particularly interesting and courageous observation about the how wives can inspire their husbands in Christian marriage.
And if you missed it, take a look at Rossi’s interview with Everybody Loves Raymond’s Patricia Heaton, where she discusses her faith, and her pro-life activities.