In our fifteenth year of marriage this year, Scott & I had the privilege of attending the wedding of our first niece to get married. It was a “fairytale” wedding in every way. Set on the sprawling lawn of a vintage mansion beside a serene lake, on a stunning Florida afternoon, there wasn’t much more one could ask for.
It was the perfect start of a fairytale love story.
Except for that one part. . . when it was time for the perfect couple to run through the tunnel, leading to their getaway car in the front drive, with all of our sparklers waving in the air. I guess we missed the minor detail that sparklers = fire, which = smoke and in a tunnel = low levels of oxygen. Not to worry. Everyone survived and the pictures were gorgeous! It all went down in the books as a beautiful end to the fairytale wedding story.
Exactly as it should have.
But this picture, and that moment, reminds me that love is never a fairytale. Sure, there are moments of pure bliss. They are fiery and real and good. But they’re folded into the mix with the smoke and moments of it being hard to breathe and wondering if you’ll even survive. Whether it’s love in your friendships, loving your children, or a love relationship with your spouse, just know today that the smoke is normal.
The fairytale isn’t real.
The truth is, no matter how the story gets its start. No matter how perfect the details. No matter how well-planned or intricately thought through the relationship may be . . . we are all human. And life happens. Time, unexpected circumstances, struggles, and our humanity, all get in the way of the made-up fairytale playing out the way we expected it to, in our minds.
All fairytales have a little smoke.
Sometimes the whole thing crumbles to the ground. Sometimes it can be rebuilt and sometimes it can’t. Sometimes it’s all held together with the stretchiest of bandaids. Sometimes what looks like a fairytale of sparklers shining in the night, is really a near death experience from smoke inhalation.
The fairytale isn’t real, but love is.
So today, on this “day of love”, if it feels like you’re surrounded by fairytales, remember the sparklers. Where there is fire, there is smoke.
Real love isn’t a fairytale.
And it usually doesn’t look like one. It usually looks like a trail of smoke and fire. It looks a lot of hard work. It looks like endurance. It looks like patience, kindness, and humility. Over and over and over again.
Don’t let the fairytale get you down today.
Keep showing up with real love. Keep doing the next right thing. The fire you are kindling is worth a little smoke.
The fairytale isn’t real, but your love is.
to more love,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a