relationships

Chasing Tragedy: Why we are suckers for impossible dreams and failed relationships

Originiall Published August 2011. Enjoy.

Ever wonder why a woman will stay with a man who has beaten her, comes home drunk numerous times, slandered her to his friends, and doesn’t even put food on the table? Or how about the guy who continues to pursue the girl who openly cheats on him, abuses his resources, and treats him like he’s the one with the problem? Ever notice a girl trying to somehow justify why this one guy is the one when everyone else can see quite obviously that he’s a jerk? Or how about the guy who has only good to say about a girl who in return calls him a crook (to borrow from Lil Wayne)?

It would seem that we as humans are suckers for the tragic side of relationships. We desperately want the impossible. We so often pursue the thing that is actually seeming to harm us the most. In the case of abuse it might actually be physical harm and yet there’s something that makes us keep coming back for more.

Hollywood has done an excellent job portraying this idea time and time again. People often ridicule the movies for being unrealistic to life, but the more I think about it most movies that deal with relationships and drama tend to be fairly accurate. I’ve lived many of their very experiences. Except for one thing. The happy ending. The movies are how we wish things to happen in real life. They accurately show us the struggles, the challenges, the conflicts . . . but they all end . . . well, happy.

I think that our infatuation with tragic pursuits (this goes way beyond just relationships I might add), is due in part with our innate desire for redemption. We see a broken fallen world. We see hurting people. We see a dying planet. We see desperation. And we know what it’s like to occasionally feel down ourselves. And we want to redeem some of the chaos and make it right. We want to be the one who actually finally did make a difference in that person’s life. We want to be the one who finally got through their walls, defenses, and masks. We want to be the one to make the loveless love again.

And this makes sense. Ever check out the way that Paul see’s it in his letter to Rome? He said that all creation is groaning and longing to be redeemed in chapter eight. We know this is not the best there is. God placed a longing and a passion in us to help bring things back to the way they were meant to be. And sometimes this means that we chase a tragedy which we know very well may never end happily.

But happy endings do happen. They happen all around us. All the time. It’s just maybe we can only really have one happy ending in our life time. And unlike the movies it may first involve several unhappy endings. But maybe that’s actually better than living our fantasies. Because after so many desperate attempts at redemption, if it ever really does happen won’t we be that much more overwhelmed with joy? Isn’t this the feeling we get when we consider our eternal redemption which was so desperately out of our control and yet so beautifully brought about by the tragic death of an innocent man?

“He who has been forgiven much also loves much” (Jesus).

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6 thoughts on “Chasing Tragedy: Why we are suckers for impossible dreams and failed relationships

  1. Wow. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this tonight. I’m so glad I’m not the only one “infatuated with tragic pursuits.” This makes it all make so much more sense. And it’s even more encouraging when I look at it in light of redemption- knowing that He will withhold no good thing from he who walks uprightly (Ps. 84:11) Such a good reminder that he uses all the tragedy in our lives to create a better narrative than we could ever imagine and a happy ending that is promised to us, if not here, then in eternity.

    1. Thanks 🙂 I appreciate the comment. I think one thing I’ve learned since August 2011 is that we can truly be happy. We can be content. We can overcome our desire to chase tragedy to some extent. Another aspect of this discussion is that we always want what we can’t have . . . but that’s a future post 😉

  2. I lived reading this post. Sad but so true. So often we have a drive to “fix” “put right” or “heal.” My looking at it us we wouldn’t push a caterpillar out if its cacoon so why do this with someone who is not yet ready to grow and expand? They will only likely resent us for trying to ‘change’ or metamorphosis into what we want. Furthermore, how much respect could someone else have for someone who is prepared to be a doormat by accepting abuse and not believing they deserve better?

    “It’s easier to.build strong children than repair a broken man.”-Fredrick Douglass.

    1. That is so true. It is easy to walk all over people who just sit and allow you to do that. It is harder to respect people who don’t have boundaries and such. It takes personal growth to reach a maturity level enough to be able to keep others from walking all over you and to stand up for yourself.

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