The sky was beginning to cloud over, kids were playing, ducks were looking for bread crumbs, bikers rolled by while teens on skateboards defied gravity. Sitting in a folding chair and watching the scene, my eyes were drawn to the surface of the lake.
The sun was at just the right angle to cover the water with sparkles. It was beautiful, I was enjoying a satisfying day. Within a few minutes, the sun's angle had changed, and the sparkles were gone. Or, were they? From someone else's viewpoint they probably were just as fabulous. They were simply gone from my view.Isn't day-to-day life kind of like that? There are brief moments that sparkle and shimmer. We look upon them with awe. We remember them. We talk about them. Of course, real life takes place in between the sparkles. It is how we fill the space between them that matters.
Relationships are certainly made up of sparkles and spaces. There are the everyday moments in relationships that occupy most of your life. Those are the large spaces filled with chores and responsibilities, making tough decisions, cooking, cleaning, compromising, and shopping. These don't really sparkle. They are the mundane activities that fill your day whether you are alone or in any form of relationship. They are what we call living.
Then there are those times when you, your spouse or significant other, your best friend, or simply you and your environment are exactly on the same page. Everything is going according to plan. You are communicating well and any disagreements are minor. If you have children or grandkids, there are times when things just sparkle: a vacation by the lake, a great day at the zoo, a family night watching a favorite movie. You fill several hours with your favorite pastime, barely noticing the passage of time.
As a retired person, you have control over most of your day. At least you think you do. But, when you must wait for a repair person, or your car is in the shop you are still at the mercy of others. When you spend a few hours waiting for an overworked doctor you are reminded you are not in control quite as much as you thought. Menus must be planned, food must be bought, bills must be paid, gardens must be tended, the bike should be ridden. The days and weeks pass by so quickly you wonder where the time went.
Then, there are those moments when you grab a little time and sit down to read that new novel you've been aching to open. Your hobby bench invites you to build that project or fix the broken lamp you want back in the living room. You find some time to write, and out flows everything you have bottled up while the spaces of life are filled with everyday stuff.
John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." That is the human condition. We want a life that we control. We would like a day with nothing but sparkles. No chores, no irritations, to disappointments, no hassles. A day that goes according to our plans.
But that isn't how things work. We can be much happier and much more satisfied when we learn to accept the large spaces into which we put our everyday life while being on the lookout for those sparkles of pure joy and beauty that brighten and enlighten.