Every relationship teaches us something.
In the delightful romantic comedy, Definitely, Maybe, we journey with young ten-year old Maya Hayes (Abigail Breslin) as she discovers the sordid love life of her father Will (Ryan Reynolds). It isn't the typical bedtime story, but it's all young Maya wants to talk about, thanks to a sex-ed class at her local elementary school.
Added to this mix is the fact that Will has just been served divorce papers from Maya's mother that same day, making the reminescence somewhat bittersweet for the two of them.
So Will tells Maya (and us) about his many relationships in life.
He begins with his college sweetheart "Emily" (Elizabeth Banks) and how they were quite the item until Will moved to New York to work on Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and Emily cheated on him back in Madison, Wisconsin. The two eventually reunite seven years later.
Then he tells her about "Summer" (Rachel Weisz), a journalist with a adoration for older men (including Kevin Kline playing her thesis director and lover). Summer toys with Will and the two have their own relationship until she ruins his career and all his friendships by writing a tell-all piece about Will's boss, who is running for political office and then drops out of the race.
Finally, he shares his longtime affection (but never a real relationship) for "April" (Isla Fisher) who has kept in touch will Will since her days as a copy girl for Clinton's campaign office. The two share a deep friendship, but each holds a special place in their heart for each other even when they are in the midst of other relationships.
Through each relationship, Will learns something new - about life, about love, and about himself. With each passing affair and with every new person he meets, he grows and matures.
This is how life really is. We may think we have learned it all, but God gives us other people in our lives - from love affairs and family members to good friends and colleagues - to keep teaching us about life and about ourselves. I can think back to all the relationships I have had in life (in one form or another). Thanks to every one of those people that God placed before me (or continues to bless me with on my life's journey), I have grown and matured and become more of who God intended me to be.
Whether they know it or not, the people in our lives - past and present - have been teaching us something. The question remains: did we learn anything or did we let the lesson pass us by?
Every relationship is rich with meaning and purpose. Sometimes we need be like Will Hayes in this movie and take a night to reflect on how far we've come, and where we need to go next. It worked for him in this movie, and I think it just might work for us, too.