I loved fireworks as a kid. On July 4th my family would go to a park to watch the magnificent show in the sky. But the show is not what I was most interested in. I was more interested in the couples. From a young age I can recall walking around and scouting out all the “lovers.” Completely engrossed in those who were most affectionate with each other, I’d incessantly stare and was pulled in like a kid to candy. I felt utterly jealous. The flashier the “soul mates”—hand holding-kissing-any affection at all—the more I longed for what I didn’t have.
I desperately longed for a boyfriend.
I thought that having a boyfriend solved all of your problems. And having a boyfriend on July 4th was the mountain top experience of Relationship Land. I mean what could be better than lying side by side with the love of your life watching the sky light up with magic? It was an expression of the love shared between all “soul mates,” right?
Year after year, I longed for someone to choose me…
to love me…
for me to find someone to love…
for me to have someone to call my own.
I was eighteen before I got my awaited fireworks show in the sky side by side with the love of my life—who later became my husband, and still is.
Unfortunately, I remember being gravely disappointed.
- My life wasn’t perfect, like I had imagined it would be with a “date” on July 4th.
- With sobering sadness, all of my problems didn’t go away.
- Distressingly, it didn’t feel like magic at all.
- Shockingly, there was no BOOM.
It was just another day filled with all the problems and struggles and challenges of life. I think sometimes we do this with relationships. We look to a person to be the answer to all of our life struggles.
We cannot look to our spouse to fill all of our hopes dreams unrealistic expectations. When dreams turn into reality, and then, disappointment, we are left wanting. We are left with empty desires and a yearning heart. My first “romantic” July 4th felt like a kid who finally got her first helium filled balloon only to have the big bad reality monster come along with a needle and pop it.
My problem was a broken life filter.
I was looking for the wrong boom. When we allow our expectations to run wild, giving desires license to fogged realism, we give way to feeling grave disappointment and hopelessly out of control. There is much we have no control over in life, and, on the contrary, there is much we have control over. Had I known at eighteen the key to contentment at all stages of life was to choose thankfulness, I would have had my magic fairytale July 4th experience. But instead, I was grimly disenchanted. Now, I know the secret to contentment.
It’s in the Bible…
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thess. 5:18 (NIV)
Today the colorful fireworks are bright and vibrant in my marriage with all of its
- and muddied madnesses
- and grueling valleys,
along with the
- and electric highs
- and magic moments.
We must welcome the highs and the lows.
Don’t let the fireworks fizzle to duds. Whatever season you find yourself in give thanks.
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