Not only is this the name of one of my favorite songs released by the group Boston in 1976, but it is also the best way for me to summarize a quick little lesson on love, marriage, and reality. If any of you have had the good fortune of being in love you can relate to that all-consuming feeling that sweeps over your body every time you so much as THINK of the other person- much less see their face or hear their voice. The heart-pounding, palm-moistening phenomena that takes over is such an intense high to our system it is almost incomparable. I’ve not ever jumped out of a plane, but I would assume that the adrenaline rush you feel in the beginning stages of love must be similar to the feeling in your stomach you have right before you jump out of that plane at 12,500 feet with the parachute strapped to your back. Anxious flutterings of your heart and excitement all rolled into one huge ball of emotion. It’s a fun time. It’s a sweet time. The reality is it is also a fleeting time.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. I’m not a downer on love. I’m not trying to take the “magic” out of anything, but I’ve learned that if we had a more realistic view of what love truly is…. well, maybe we wouldn’t make some of the foolish mistakes that we do. I saw a button once that said, “Disney gave us unrealistic expectations about hair and men”. This is a humorous way to look at it, but I firmly believe that the Disney-ization of relationships causes young women to believe that the fairytale is the brass ring we are all to strive to achieve and anything less is us “settling” for less than we should. I’m afraid the movie industry and our willingness to set the bar so high has actually proven a disservice to females of our generation.
My mother and I used to argue in my 20’s and 30’s when she would say that people in my generation were so selfish. She explained that my age group seemed to be only concerned with what made us happy. She spent hours explaining to me that “happiness” should never be our life’s goal. “Happiness” is a feeling and a fleeting one at that. What we need to be striving for is to be walking in God’s will. I bucked her on the “happiness” part for a long time. I don’t think I understood what she was saying. A lesson she taught me without having to say it in descriptive terms was the lesson of committment. The older we become the more choices we are allowed to make. Part of the maturing process is to be accountable and responsible for those decisions which we chose to make. I imagine when we are all standing before the Lord our discussion had better not be plagued with explanations of why we tried to make ourselves happy at every turn. I don’t think He’ll buy into our stories and explanations of WHY we deserved to do such and such and WHY we made such self-centered decisions. I’m pretty sure His response would sound something like, “Really? Then where did I come into the picture? If it was all about you and your happiness then what about MY will and MY fullness?” You can’t take a situation, wrap it up in a lovely red bow, and stamp it with the words “God’s Fullness For My Life” just because it fits in nicely with your quest for happiness. Finding His true fullness requires introspection and cleansing. It may mean giving up some things that we find fun and entertaining. Heck, it might even require that we examine ourselves thoroughly (insert shiver here) and come face to face with who we truly are. I will tell you from experience this is NOT an easy thing. We risk finding out that we may not be exactly the person we’ve tried to convince the world that we are. It can bring you to your knees. I have the rug burns to prove it. Am I saying that we won’t ever have happiness in our quest to achieve God’s fullness for our lives? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that everything that brings us happiness isn’t necessarily part of the fullness plan that He has for us. We just have to decided how long we want to continue to drive this bus on our own. A bus can only have one driver. Who’s it gonna be? Us or Him?
The older I get the less tolerance I find myself having for those who proclaim a longing for a closeness to Him and yet continue to live lives so obviously lead by self. The funny thing is, I don’t even see it as judgment. At my age I’m seriously too tired to even be judgmental. There’s no point. I’m not responsible for anyone else and no one else is responsible for me. I view it as more of an ownership issue. If you’re living in sin, let’s just call it sin. If you’re seeking His fullness, then call it that. If you’re a fence straddler at times, just own up to it. There are many times that I’ve been that person who has been selfish. I think back to my 20’s and I hang my head. That was a decade-a fun one at that- but one filled with such selfishness. I was young and immature and selfish. Shamefully so. I think I began the tip of my maturity journey in my 30’s and the moment I became a mother at age 33 my entire world shifted off its axis. I would dare to say this is the time that I gained true perspective. In that moment on September 23, 2003 I was responsible for another little being. My needs and wants fell away silently and painlessly. All I wanted was this scary, exciting new chapter of my life.
*** It’s always interesting to me to jump on here and finds drafts of stories I’ve not yet finished. This is one of them. I began this December 14 of last year. Several things have changed since this blog began. I have lost my father and my marriage is falling apart. Interestingly enough, even after reading this and fighting back several overwhelming eye rolls I think I still stand by my original words and thoughts. I’m not one to be giving relationship advice at this time so I’ll save the rest of my words in that area for when my wounds are less fresh and I will have hopefully gained some perspective.
What I can say tonight is THANK GOD that life and love are more than a feeling. My feelings have fluctuated so much in the past 6 months that often times it is difficult to discern the true emotion from that which has kicked in if only to sustain me. I am allowing myself to take a little time out from life lately and regain my strength. It’s difficult to be what I like to consider myself- independent, funny and grounded- when I feel like my foundation has been rattled and most days I’d rather just pull the covers up over my head and stick straight pins into voodoo dolls of several people who shall remain nameless.
I won’t be in my self-imposed time out for long. Just long enough to get back to myself. It’s taken 41 years to get me to this point. I promise it won’t take that long to get me out. 🙂