So, I have a confession. When several of my friends started posting on Facebook last Fall about a new television show called, “This Is Us”, I dismissed it. “How good could it really be?”, I thought. And, “Who has TIME to watch a TV series?!”.
Follow up posts about how each episode touched them even more than the next didn’t even make me want to tune in the next week. I mean, come on – life is hard enough as it is. Who in their right mind would want to watch a televised version of their real life?! Television and movies are for escape, not for reliving what you’ve already experienced or are currently living.
Fast forward to Fourth of July 2017. At our house, holidays and special occasions have pretty much become an inside joke. If a holiday or major milestone is coming up, it’s a safe bet around here that Rob (my husband and Dad to our two teen kids) will be traveling for work. (It’s also a safe bet that something MAJOR will go wrong with the house, the car, or one of us will be hospitalized, but that’s a different story for a different day…).
Now, please don’t misunderstand. That’s not a knock against Rob, at all. The kids and I know he would be here if he could. We are VERY thankful for him and his job but also understand it – our LIFE – is, well, simply…different from the life of pretty much everyone we know.
To sum it up, when you have a spouse who travels frequently, it’s hard to make lifelong friends, and meaningful plans, and have a set schedule, and live a “normal” life. The constant travel and the moving to a different city every few years – basically starting over again every 2 to 5 years, or so – can really take its toll.
I have to admit, for a control freak, planner like me, that’s been a MAJOR adjustment. I wish I could report that, after 21 years of marriage, we’ve figured it all out and it’s always smooth sailing, now. But, the fact of the matter is, we haven’t. And, it isn’t. And, even though it can be incredibly stressful at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, I guess that’s why I’ve (surprisingly!) found myself binge watching “This Is Us” for the past two days. To sum it up, “This Is Us” is raw and real and it helps you put your life into perspective and remember what it is all really about, even in the midst of all the “crazy”. It has also reminded me personally that, while touching base with friends and family on Facebook or via text is wonderful, it’s absolutely NO SUBSTITUTE for connecting with them in real life, even though we may live in different states. I miss really connecting with the people who matter most to me. It’s the experiences we share that we will always remember – the one-on-one, in person time spent together. I want more of that!
Now, in the spirit of “being real”, I have to confess that my friends and family can sometimes bug the crap out of me (I’m sure I have the same effect on them!)! Still, I love them very much and I treasure the time I have with them. Isn’t it ironic that those very real-life, not-so-perfect, frustrating-yet-stimulating interactions are what ultimately make life fun, and happy, and bearable, and memorable? And, isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place – to learn how to love God and love each other? Investing in people – time spent with people – that’s what we should be focusing on.
So, thank you to my friends who posted about “This Is Us” last Fall. I’m sorry it took me so long to catch on… And, “well done!” to the writers of a wonderful series. Thank you for waking me up and reminding me that trying to forget about and avoid pain, discomfort, and difficult memories by isolating myself and not truly connecting with others can only result in a mediocre life – one that’s not really being lived. And, that it is through life’s MANY messes – those unplanned, unexpected moments – that we truly connect with one another and experience true joy and true living, and ultimately learn how to live life abundantly.