There is an ever growing distortion of reality that on occasion may inspire improvement, but more generally engenders despondency and a feeling of “my life is not all it could be”. The world of social media allows a forum for us all to present our best selves and in extreme cases, professional “influencers” paint a picture of life that is totally unobtainable.
These images can give rise to a belief that life is always perfect, extreme, exhilarating and exciting. But the truth of the matter is, most of us have to get up on a Monday morning and go to work, look after children and wash dishes.
Please don’t get me wrong, we should all have realistic ambitions, we should have an earnest desire to better ourselves… but our goals should be achievable and grounded.
Relationships are a particular aspect of life, that can have expectations raised out of all proportions. Perhaps I’m just getting old and have no sense of adventure, but when I think of a romantic train journey, my first thought is not hanging out of the side of the carriage….
The picture above created somewhat of a media storm, as the couple who own the Instagram account were accused of encouraging others to take risks. But the bigger story is, that it depicts love and romance in a way that most of us don’t (and shouldn’t) experience and can encourage others to feel they are failing! There is nothing wrong with aspiring to travel or enjoy life, but those times are balanced with a fair amount of the mundane.
As a couple we enjoyed the high life of a journey on the Orient Express, it was romantic and luxurious but we stayed firmly inside the moving train. However it is a world away from our daily lives. Finding lasting joy in a relationship, is when you can get a sense of fulfillment in daily acts of service for each other. Not when you create a staged illusion of life.
Of course this is not a new phenomena, Hollywood has always try to sell us a notion of romance in unrealistic terms. Have you ever noticed that moment when the silver screen depicts a couple fall in love and share a first kiss… The poor girl cant keep her foot on the floor and lifts one leg! This is known as the “foot pop”. How many times have you seen that in real life and if you have, is it because movies have conditioned some to think its what you do to demonstrate your feelings? Of course in the current times of attracting followers and likes, foot popping becomes more extreme…
Now just focus on that last picture for a minute, I guess nothing says I love you more than “let me just dangle you over a 3 storey drop”
I’m obviously easily pleased, as all it took for me to know I was loved this week when I came home and my wife had mowed the front lawn, a job I normally do.
Perhaps you think I’m just a kill-joy, or have no place in my heart for such ideals that the world portrays? To show its not just me with these concerns, let me share some thoughts from a minister by the name of Jenkin Lloyd Jones which Gordon B. Hinckley passed on…
“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.
Life is just like an old time rail journey…delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
The reality is, we find joy when we “thank the Lord for letting us have the ride”, even the mundane parts. Love is conveyed with more sincerity when a couple kneel and pray together, than when they pose for a picture. Life is meant to be hard, its meant to be a challenge, to help us grow and learn.
I’ll let Eve have the last word, I bet her foot never “popped”
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. Moses 5:11