I love The Adjustment Bureau. It’s a 2011 movie, starring Matt Damon as a rising politician and Emily Blunt as a dancer. I’ve watched it twice.

The central plot of the movie is that Damon and Blunt are supposed to fall in love and be together, but the powers that be (euphemistically called, The Adjustment Bureau), decide otherwise. By some quirk of fate, they still meet and are inexorably drawn to each other. They decide to defy destiny.

There are two scenes that left deep impressions on me. In the first, Damon asks an agent of the Bureau why he can’t be with Blunt as originally planned. The agent explains that whenever Damon is with Blunt, he feels complete and enough. The void in his heart that drives him to compete and excel in politics, is no longer there. Through politics, Damon is meant to change the world and so, the Bureau decides that his mission is more important than true love.

I’ve been thinking about the fruitfulness of emptiness. This year, I have written more than I have in previous years. I realise that my writings resonate because they come from a place of emptiness. From pain. From sadness. From lonely revelation. And so they are real. Perhaps I would not write as much if I were complete. Or maybe I would write about different things. The point is, there is much to mine from brokenness.

The second scene is where Damon shows Blunt for the first time, the parallel world in which the Bureau operates. Blunt trusts him enough to accept the bizarre set of circumstances, on the strength of his word. Those who love you will listen to your most horrible stories and confessions; take some time to process them and then say, “What next?” They move on and continue to love you because of the trust they place in you. They know you are more than the sum of your stories.

I’m not sure why I remembered The Adjustment Bureau today. I do now. I felt the void creeping up on me and decided to channel it by writing this article.


There's much to mine from brokenness. There's fruitfulness in emptiness. Click To Tweet