reflecting on indepenence

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My favorite ladies soak each other during our July 4th visit to Avenue of the Giant Boulders.

One of the most valuable aspects of holidays and anniversaries is the way that they allow us to examine where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. They are checkpoints…benchmarks…points of reflection.

Today is Independence Day…July 4th. It is, obviously, the anniversary of our nation’s declaration of secession from Great Britain but it is a more personal anniversary for me.

Two years ago today I knew something was wrong with my marriage, but I wasn’t certain what it was. My wife had all but stopped talking to me. She still lived in our house but had removed herself emotionally two months earlier. Any approach on my part to determine what was amiss resulted only in vague references to her being tired and busy…inadequate preparation for the storm to come.

One year ago today I had been living as a single father for nearly a year and had come to a very tenuous decision that I couldn’t go on in lonely misery for much longer. I had begun to come to terms with the idea that my marriage was not going to be restored and my sanity required greater effort on my part to be maintained. I had decided that it was time to, at least, attempt to begin dating.

The past year has had several ups and downs as I’ve tried to negotiate the path of moving from being a married to a single and, now, a divorced man. I’ve dealt with the guilty pangs of going on dates with women who weren’t my wife while I was still legally married but fully abandoned. I’ve experienced the complicated rush of sitting across a table from someone who made me feel attractive and interesting…things I hadn’t felt from my wife for some time. I’ve wandered through the complex landscape of wondering if I could ever love another woman…if my future might hold a second marriage…a second chance at my desired happily ever after.

Today, I am in a profoundly beautiful place. Four months ago yesterday I met the woman that my heart has desired for such a long time. As our relationship has developed, I have seen God restore my joy and excitement and anticipation. I have seen promises fulfilled and new possibilities emerge. image

Only God knows where I will be next July 4th. I try to be up front in these posts, so I will admit that my desire is that I will be either married or headed in that direction. I’m trying to not put too much pressure on myself or the woman I love, however. I’m trying to relax and simply enjoy the wonder of these moments of joy…this season of celebration.

Song of Songs (sometimes called Song of Solomon) is probably not one of the most frequently quoted books of the Bible, but it is filled with beautiful poetry and declarations of love. In the second chapter, the beloved woman writes:

10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

I feel that way…that the winter is past…that the season of rejoicing has arrived. I suppose I could worry about the future and shield my heart from potential sadness, but why? Why miss out on the beauty that is around me right now?

I would much rather celebrate the joy and live in the sweet blessings I have been given.

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