Not in the "there's-no-place-like-home" sort of way (although true), but in the one-minute-your-life-is-going-as-usual and the next, well, you're in a wonderful place that you never even knew existed.
Those who know me know I am constantly in a state of getting my hopes up, but also being very cautious. It's really a horrible combination. I'm the day dreamer and the pessimist all rolled into one. Even worse, I have the analytical mind that makes me constantly sort through all the new "data" it's receiving so I tend to start driving myself (and possibly others) crazy.
Combine all that with the idea of relationships being on my mind lately, and well, you see where I'm going. Ok, maybe they haven't been on my mind just lately, but ever since I turned 30 and *gasp* realized I was no closer to starting my own family than I was 5 years earlier at my last birthday milestone.
However, I'm growing in so many ways. I'm also trusting God that He knows what the heck he is doing (as, yes, I have asked "What the heck are You doing?!?"). I'm watching those relationships around me to see what does and does not work and I am soaking it all in. If there is one great quality I've been blessed with it's the ability to learn from others' triumphs and failures. I've grown up in both a step-parent household and a single parent household. I've seen friends and family marry some great and not-so-great people and how, regardless, they all still have struggles. I've seen a marriage in its fourth decade possibly crumble, but they maintained until he passed away. And I've also read the story of a family who almost ended their marriage before, really, the best years of their life are just beginning together.
So what have I learned from all of this? Relationships are WORK. This isn't a huge revelation as we hear this all the time - but do people actually really think about what that means? You guessed it, I have. I still do.
Beyond relationships being a ton of work, the greatest single thing I keep in the back of my mind is there is a huge possibility that no matter how great of a man I marry, there most likely will come a point in our marriage where I want to give up. Where the stress will engulf me. Where the grass might look greener somewhere else. Or maybe a time I just don't feel aqequate enough to continue on.
However, I feel I am better prepared going in because I'm aware of the possibilities. No rose-colored glasses here. My eyes will be wide open. I hope to keep an eye out for the warnings signs and deal with them as they come.
Now, I don't want you to think I am going in with the expectancy of something bad happening. No way. I am hopeful for a marriage full of love, compromise and generally seeking the well-being of the other at all times. And if for some reason those sneaky thoughts of throwing the towel in do surface, I know I not only am armed with the tools to help me through it, a great set of family and friends to support me, but also a God who is gracious. I firmly believe that by putting God as the center of the relationship, all else will fall into place. Once God is pushed to the side is when the selfishness surfaces, the insecurity creeps in and all the problems start piling up.
But, for now, I am walking around in the land of Oz - I'm aware of the hurdles ahead of me (creepy flying apes, anyone?), but am also enjoying the field of flowers. I don't know how I got here, but I sure hope I'll find out why.