The first official date I ever took my wife on, it rained. Like TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. We went to get lunch at Semolina’s in Metairie. I got something with red sauce on it (mistake). She pushed a salad around her plate with her fork. Something I mistook for lack of interest in me, when in actuality it was severe nerves. She’d never been on a proper date. You know, the kind where the young man opens doors, pays for the food and leads the conversation in a very smooth and sophisticated way. Well, I managed the doors and the bill, but I’m a super awkward person, so conversations are always going to get weird…
And to wrap up the awkward lunch, we had to run through a driving rain storm to the far side of the Clearview Mall parking lot, only to find that the window seals in my beat up Ford Escort Station Wagon were less than water-tight. (I affectionally called that car my S-triple-U for Sport Utility Wagon) I didn’t expect to get a second date.
But I did. And hundreds more over the last thirteen years.
Now I love when it is pouring the rain while we are out for a romantic night of eating food at a leisurely pace without having to wrangle two children, take various trips to the potty and pick up the crayons which have rolled onto the floor… again. Dating after having kids is a bit different. Sometimes we are so exhausted that we’ll just sit quietly in the car and hold hands instead of going to the movies or trying some hip Uptown eatery which will inevitably cause anxiety just from the parking situation. One time, we legit got ice cream cones and sat in an empty parking lot watching the sunset for an hour. It was so quiet… which was exactly what we needed that day.
It takes maturity to pursue what you need as opposed to what you want. Dreaming isn’t bad, but clinging to dreams that aren’t from the Lord can lead to disillusionment and constant disappointment. That’s not the kind of life God wants for you and me. He wants us to be satisfied in all situations. Specifically He wants us to be satisfied with Him. That’s where the bold statement in Philippians comes from, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” Paul was telling some worried Christians in Philippi that no matter what life throws at you – you can not only survive, you can thrive!
Would I love to be able to hop a private jet with my family for vacations in Fiji? Duh doi! But can I find just as much joy running around with my kids on the playground and eating ice cream in a parking lot with Elena? Yup. I’ll leave you with the same encouragement Paul gave the Philippians. The secret to adjusting your perspective on life – whether it is storms and leaky window seals or lush gardens on a private island, “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians Chapter 4)