13 12 2018

danicing in the RainWhat a year this has been. What a crazy adventure life has become. There always seems to be something happening that complicates matters. I never expect anything to be easy. Nothing ever is. Actually, the older I get; the harder the challenges have become. It would be so easy to just wave the white flag of surrender and discover a bunker to hide in until I graduate to Glory. But my faith keeps me fighting. The truth of Scripture trumps the lies that want to pronounce me dead prematurely. Life isn’t fair but God has given me His promise that He will make something miraculous out of the mess. I must look up rather than give up and when my circumstances want to play taps, I must choose to tap dance!


Terri and I celebrated our 36th Wedding Anniversary last week. It was actually on December 4th but we hosted a Christmas Dinner for the Lighthouse Leadership knowing we would have our date come the weekend. We were being treated to a dinner at an Italian Restaurant in West Cape May via the kindness of a church member. Reservations were made and off we were to celebrate our wonderful yet never a dull moment union that we have experienced together. Nothing could go spoil this date, could it? Of course, it could!


Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be early. This was one of those instances it might have been better to be late. Because our reservations weren’t until 5:30, we had a little time to kill. We stopped at TJ Maxx along the way and actually bought some more Shiny Brite ornaments for my antique Silver Christmas Tree. We got back in the car and began to drive down Route 9 when a look of horror was seen upon Terri’s face. I asked her immediately, “What’s wrong?” She shared, “I lost the gift certificate. I had put it on my lap but forgot about it when I got out of the car at TJ Maxx. It could be anywhere.”

I turned the car around and we proceeded back to the TJ Maxx parking lot where we began our frantic search. We retraced our steps through the store. There we were out on our hands and knees, looking under cars to see if the gift certificate could be found. In a Hallmark Movie, we would have recouped our loss and went on to the romantic dinner that we had hoped for all week. But in real life, it was nowhere to be found. Not only did we lose the gift certificate, but the $40 that Terri had attached to it to that she was going to give to me later.


A younger me might have gotten upset. A younger me might have even lost my temper. I saw the tears falling down my wife’s face and I knew that there was nothing we could do to change the past. I suggested that we still go out to eat but on a lighter budget, we ended up at the Court House Diner. We were still married 36 years. We were still alive and breathing and together. We were still the parents of four wonderful children and the grandparents of four more. We were still loved by God and still going to Heaven. We just were forced to adjust the load on the road of the wild and crazy ride of life. No, it didn’t go like we planned. I am just grateful that it wasn’t the total loss that it could have easily become.


I don’t know what you are going through these days. I am sure that you have all had your fair share of disappointments. While having expectations are quite normal, we must make sure that when life goes out of our control, we don’t spiral into a chaotic state with it. Let me quickly suggest 3 principles to hold on to when your agenda blows up in your face.


First, we must learn to laugh and keep our sense of humor no matter what cards life deals us. The anniversary twist was our opportunity to shuffle through another fine mess life wanted to throw at us. When you want to cry, try to find a reason to laugh. Terri and I can honestly attest to the fact that our marriage has been far from boring and what could have been a disaster makes another great story.


Second, we must not allow the outside circumstances to alter our inside character. Life must be lived from the inside out and not visa-versa. Who we are and our truest identity shouldn’t be up for grabs because of where we are or what might be taking place all around us. We must be thermostats and set the temperature rather than acting like thermometers that change with the climate of our surrounding environment. Things will go wrong but we can still be right. Love is not determined by the events. Love is what makes any event something positive.


Finally, we must understand that everything this side of heaven is temporary. I have come to learn how to enjoy the magical moments and endure the nightmares. I have understood that no matter what I do, some days will be downers and rather than pretend and fake it, I have learned how to ride that stretch of highway knowing that soon the scenery will change. There are seasons of smiles and times of tears and both are key components of life on earth. This too will pass and when it is all said and done, God has promised us that the best is still yet to come. I don’t get too used to the highs or the lows but have accepted that both are instruments in the hands of God in fashioning us as the masterpieces He has pronounced us to be.


Nope, we never found that gift certificate. I don’t expect us to. But we have found the foundation of love and that is the commitment that we have for one another. God has our backs even when we don’t like or comprehend what is in front of us. I can either opt out and become a wallflower or I can learn to dance the twist. Last week it was the anniversary twist. Who knows what this week will call for. All I do know that when all is said and done, there will be lots more in store! God has given us His word on that and as far as I’m concerned, that is what will define me!      



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