By Caitlin Choveaux
Many will curl up on the couch this Valentine's Day with a box of chocolates and pine over lost love or snuggle with their partner in front of a Nicholas Sparks chick-flick. I will probably be one of them and I have to ask myself why.
Famed for his novels-turned-films like A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Dear John and Safe Haven, Nicholas Sparks appears to have a masterful definition of romance and love that other filmmakers struggle to match.
"The best love," Sparks says, "is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds."
Sparks' fictional fantasies will either leave you feeling all gooey inside or rolling your eyes, but I don't think many can argue that a heartfelt, peace-bringing love is a bad thing.
While the popular understanding of love revolves around heart-shaped chocolate boxes, roses, inventive marriage proposals, heroic acts of bravery and soppy love letters, Sparks hints at a real love that is not fickle but instead selfless, sacrificial, unconditional and constant.
In fact, inspiration for his bookshop blockbusters comes from the best-selling book of all time: the Bible. Wise King Solomon says in Song of Solomon: "Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame".
It reminds me of Sparks' description: love burns passionately like a wildfire in our souls; it is fulfilling and yet leaves us continually thirsty for more.
Sparks, King Solomon and I have one thing in common: we all believe that this fire-blazing, peace-giving, grave-demanding love comes from God, who Himself is love.
Commenting on one of his most successful films, The Notebook, Sparks explained that the love story was "a metaphor of God's love for us all".
"The theme is everlasting, unconditional love. It also goes into the sanctity of marriage and the beauty you can find in a loving relationship," he told Christianity Today.
In Sparks' A Walk to Remember, Jamie Sullivan is a young girl who is dying from cancer but continues to hold strong to her faith in God.
She explains to her boyfriend, Landon, "Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it."
The same can be said about God. Love cannot be seen or put in a test tube and explained in scientific terms and yet it indisputably dwells like a fire in our souls. The Bible tells the greatest love story of all time, and the best part is that you are written all over it.