Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love is clumsy

I suffer from an overactive imagination.  I use the word "suffer" because while I love that about me, it can also be a curse.  I love how with little effort I can picture beautiful places in detail, entertain myself throughout the day with my own little stories I make up, and can get completely lost in a book or movie.  It's fun, I love that.  But it's a curse, because the world we live in now, is nothing like my imagination.

I know I'm not alone.  We all picture things a certain way, and then are so surprised when that picture wasn't even close to reality.  Will Smith sums it up perfectly in one line, in this scene from the movie Hitch.

Sometimes we imagine too much, don't we?  I do it almost everyday!!  Here's a common example maybe some of you know.  I prepare a picnic for the kids and I to eat at the park, and as I load up the stroller, imagine butterflies, happy giggles, and rainbows.  I can see it all!  My sweet children are so happy to be there, love me for taking them, are refreshed by the outdoors and healthy playtime, and I get to lay back on the picnic blanket, basking in the "motherhood is wonderful" sunshine.  Of course, as you can guess, I'm shocked when in real life, the kids don't want any of the food I prepared, get cranky and argue with each other, sunburn despite my careful, tedious sunscreen efforts before we left, find more ways to get dirty than I thought possible, each take turns crying on the way home, and when we still have a mile left to walk, are stuck in an unexpected downpour of rain.  Like Will Smith said, "I imagined that going differently in my mind."

Maybe it's because I not only have a vast imagination (I get that from my Dad) but I'm also easy to feel and express emotion (I get that from my mom).  So a beautiful scene from a book or movie, or even something I think or dream about, not only is wonderful, but tends to have an emotional effect on me too.  I love what I hear/see/feel, and I want it to be real!  I know you're probably thinking you're much too mature to get lost in such silliness- but think for a moment, my friends.  Remember that one movie, where you were grateful for the dark theater so no one could see you quickly swipe away a tear?  I realize I suffer from a worse case than most of the imagination-turned-emotional disorder, but don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.  I know you do.

My most recent guilty moment of getting too caught up in the world of daydreams, was when I heard Blake Shelton's song, Home, play on the radio.  Go on, listen to it.  Let yourself feel the love!

I felt the love a little too much when I heard this song.  Big crocodile tears rolled down my cheeks, I thought of deployments and sometimes how lonely I can feel, and pathetically said to myself, "I so badly want my husband to say those words to me!"

Then I took it a step further, and pictured what it'd be like if he did say those things to me. I even went so far as to imagine him secretly taking guitar lessons, learning the words to the song, and then serenading me after a quiet romantic dinner at home.  It was beautiful!

It was also ridiculous.  Life is not a music video.  How we feel about the people we love is so difficult to put into words, not to mention having them on hand at the exact moment when they need to be heard.  Some people spend their whole lives working on turning that very problem into an art.  Poets, authors, musicians, and artists of all kinds find ways to put emotion onto the page.  But it takes tedious hours, rewrites, drafts, patience, and practice.  Behind those dream worthy moments are mistakes, clumsiness, and great effort.

The more I thought about my silly daydream of my husband singing to me, the more I realized it wasn't really what I want.  I have what I want.  I have someone who does work tedious long hours for me.  He's patient with me, and we both patiently wait for those days when we can be together.  We forgive mistakes, we practice being thoughtful, considerate, and sympathetic to each other.  Those long days of effort and work are what make something beautiful, something sweet, even something dream worthy.

Will Smith also suavely says in Hitch that "Life is about the moments, that take your breath away".

It's a romantic thought, but I don't agree.  Life isn't about those short lived moments.  It's about the clumsy ones that got you there.  It's about saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  It's about feeling bad because you forgot something important, or feeling embarrassed because you didn't handle a situation right.  Life is waiting when you don't want to, enduring when you're tired, listening even when you're feeling distracted.  It's about patience with misscommunication, and forgiveness of imperfection.  It's about sleepy, late nights, small acts of kindness that sometimes inevitably go unappreciated, and showing devotion even when you're feeling lonely.  It's about experiencing all those things, and loving anyway.  Perhaps those short moments of breathless excitement are fun, and memorable.  But they are empty without the clumsy ones that come before and afterwords.

If you added up all the thousands of tiny sighs where I felt special because of the things my husband has done for me, (and that's not even counting the little things I forgot to notice!) I'd be more than out of breath.  I'd probably even romantically swoon from all that sweet, wonderful, clumsy love.  But because this is real life, he'd probably be too surprised to catch me, and we'd smile and comment about how we'd laugh about it someday.  We'd say that confidently, knowing for sure, despite all those imperfect, awkward moments, that the someday will be there, and in that someday we'll still be together, still making dreams.    


  1. No, I am not convinced. Not a curse at all. It is actually a trait that brings you closer to reality. Keep extending your vision, way beyond this world. Remember, this world is the artificial one, the temporary one. No matter how grand your imagining, it can't begin to reach the wonder and beauty and greatness awaiting for you in the world yet to come, the one that this mortality is a mere training ground for. As the Apostle Paul testified, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) Go ahead and dream on.

  2. Beautifully done, Lizzy. As always.

  3. It's been too long since I have a moment to sit down and read your words. Great blog