I’m a huge, nerdy fan of Richard Paul Evan’s Christmas books. Ironically, it began with the Sunflower, which wasn’t a Christmas book. Maybe it’s that the books always come out around Christmas time or they’re usually Christmas themed or even that they’re super-adorable with the small sizes and rough-edged pages. Whatever it is, I love his books.
That being said, I like some better than others. So far the Mistletoe series has been pretty incredible. I’ve noticed that loneliness is a recurring theme throughout the books; although it’s especially strong here. Evans goes so far as to point out several scientific facts about it, that it weakens your immune system and makes you less healthy. The Mistletoe Secret not only makes you reconsider the idea of loneliness, true loneliness, but it makes you think about those people who are truly alone in the world. Wouldn’t you, given the opportunity, be that person’s somebody just to lift the terrible weight of loneliness off his shoulders? The human condition, that of us trying to connect with others, causes this sort of book to touch our core where both the divine and the frail live intertwined. It makes us want to reach out to those who are suffering for no other reason than to ease the hurt. This book shows that we have the capacity for a remarkable love, that we can be selfless and kind.
This story starts with a glimpse of Aria, a young woman who’s divorced and deserted, devoid of family, and alone in a small town. Entre Alex who lives across the country. He’s also divorced and alone. He tries internet dating, but happens across a woman’s blog instead. Armed with a few clues from the blog, he goes on a mission to meet this woman who’s as lonely as he is for no other reason, I believe, than to commune with a fellow lonely heart. During his journey, he meets Aria and his mission to find the mysterious LBH—perhaps initials?—takes a back seat to this new love.
Now, although I can’t tell you how it ends, I can tell you that it’s a sweet love story that had a few twists and turns. Other than the fact the loneliness resides deep in the human soul—that we all feel it to some extent—I was left with some interesting thoughts on change. Evans wrote:
“But sometimes the evolving terrain of life requires us to evolve with it. When those times come, we usually find ourselves quivering on the precipice of change as long as we can, because no one wants to dive headlong into the ravine of uncertainty. No one. Only when the pain of being becomes too much do we close our eyes and leap.”
So then is change only something we do when we absolutely have no choice, when the “pain of being” is too much for us? I’ve yet to meet the soul who makes a change just for the heck of it. But there’s hope. There’s the idea that the furnace of fire that changes us brings us something greater than what we lost.
“We fear jumping because we fear falling. We fear being broken. But still, jump we must, because it’s only in jumping that we’ll ever find someone to catch us.”