Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Once Upon a Time, Four Years Ago...

Once upon a time, in a land not far from here, lived a lady named Dana.  Even though her life resembled that of some other fairy tale princesses (she was a step-daughter and an alien in a land not her home), she was instead a commoner.

You see, throughout most of her youth, Dana longed for the love of a man.  Her heart mistakenly believed that the right Prince would bring happiness and fulfillment.  And so she searched, experiencing disappointment after disappointment, emptiness after emptiness, void after void.  After a second failed attempt at "happily ever after," a new realization dawned upon her.

She discovered (or re-discovered) that she had indeed been adopted by the King Himself.  This All-Powerful and All-Wise King showered her with love and the fullness of His riches.  As she lived in the completeness of that love, Dana's heart slowly changed, and she longed instead only for that special relationship with her King.  However unhappy her life had been before, she now lived with joy and peace surpassing all understanding, regardless of the circumstance in which she happened to find herself.  Dana was content to spend the rest of her life sheltered in that love ... but the King had other plans.

In that season of joy and contentment, the King decided to introduce a prince from a far away land.  Dana immediately sensed the possibility of more "happily ever after" and pleaded with the King to change His plans.  She assured her Liege that she no longer sought the love of a man.  The King smiled, knowing her better than she knew herself, and He asked her to trust Him ... which she did.

Prince Dwayne and Not-Princess Dana met through the orchestrations of the King, and they began a courtship filled with excitement and travel.  Living in lands far away from each other meant more conversations than dates.  And, as the King knew would happen, the conversations turned to knowing and knowing turned to love ... deep love.

In time, a year after the introduction, Prince Dwayne asked for Not-Princess Dana's hand in marriage, which she gave willingly.  Reality beset the fairy tale as questions arose: Where would they be wed?  Where would they live?  How would their friends and families attend since they lived so far apart from one another?

As the questions mounted, the couple postponed making any firm plans.   After all, the King would provide direction at the right time, as He always had.

One day shortly thereafter, when Prince Dwayne visited Not-Princess Dana, they strategized on how to best spend their time together.  Not-Princess Dana had planned to meet with her personal physical fitness trainer early in the morning for her twice-weekly torture session (as she liked to call it).  Then her responsibilities at the honorable job provided by the King beckoned to her.  She was truly grateful for the job, and always strove to honor her King while performing her duties, but she had the undeniable feeling that her life lay in another direction.

Prince Dwayne, being a bit of a scoundral, suggested she skip the torture and the job and wile the day away eating grapes and cheese with him.  Ever the pragmatist, Not-Princess Dana reminded him of her obligations, even though she secretly wished there could be a way for this fairytale day to happen.

Prince Dwayne, not being one to give up easily, suggested that if the trainer didn't show up, they should take it as a sign from the King and fly off to a distant land and be married that very day.

Not-Princess Dana laughed, heartily, knowing the torturer/trainer had never failed to show for his session.  Although she desperately wanted the magical day to materialize, she knew it wouldn't, given the nearly impossible obstacles they faced.

She smelled the magic pixie dust as their carriage arrived at the den of torture, only to witness the inexplicable absence of a trainer that never failed to show up.

With magic in the air, Prince Dwayne and Not-Princess Dana deliberated over breakfast, contemplating travel and ceremonies.  Fortunately, the magic prevailed, causing them to see that precious time would be lost travelling, more plans would have to be made, stress would increase, and so on and so forth.  Instead, they called the local court officials and made an appointment to be wed that afternoon.

Not-Princess Dana begged leave of her employer and began preparing her dressing gowns, while Prince Dwayne scurried off to secure a bouquet of beautiful flowers for his bride.

Without pomp or circumstance, plans or stress, the couple were joined in marriage on that very day. 

And, with the continued blessing of the King, they are still living happily ever after....three years later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Being a Hammer

I had a very interesting conversation this morning with my darling husband.  I've been struggling lately (story of my life).  I'm in the middle of a triathlon training group (Tri201).  I think middles of anything are difficult for me.  Beginnings are pretty easy--I'm excited about what ever it is I'm doing.  I'm pumped up and raring to go.  Beginnings are full of possibility.  Endings are fairly easy, too.  The end of whatever it is I'm doing is in sight and I can devote myself to finishing strong.

Middles are a different story.  The new has worn off.  It's usually more of the same of whatever it is.  The end isn't near enough to spur me on.

Middles are a struggle for me.  I begin to question what I'm doing.  Why I'm doing it.  By the middle I've forgotten what triggered the start and the end is too far away to be a motivation.  It feels like the end will never arrive.  Middles are work.

This morning I was in the middle of verbally processing (read: babbling on about something I don't quite understand trying to say enough words for it to make sense) when my dear husband gave me a great word picture.

He asked me to imagine a tape recorder and a hammer.  They are both tools used for very different purposes.  Obviously the tape recorder records and plays back...the hammer drives nails (among other things).  If the recorder "thinks" it needs to drive nails, it's going to break if it tries...and the hammer will never be able to record no matter what it does.  And if each of these tools strives to be like the other they are missing their individual calling. 

Furthermore...the hammer doesn't need a nail to be a hammer.  The tool wielder will use the hammer as He sees fit....for the job He needs it for.  It's not up to the hammer to a) try to be something it's not, or b) to find the nail to's just called to be a hammer and to be ready to be used.

Middles are hard for me because I miss the excitement of "learning to be a hammer" and I'm not quite ready to "drive nails"....I'm just "sitting in the tool box" BEING a hammer.