City Lights from the Plane

I love to fly into big cities at night. It’s so darn beautiful. It’s like a circus on the ground. Bright lights…glistering…you can almost sense the bustle from your window seat as you look down. The pilot’s voice comes on – “Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position …. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are ….blah blah blah.

Those deep yellow light bulbs clothe the city in a shiny golden blanket that shimmers and winks at you as the airplane makes that final turn to the runway. It’s almost like the city puts on a show for the flight arrival. It’s simply beautiful.

That’s how new relationships are, aren’t they? It’s like this person is covered in Gold…you’re seeing him/her from high up in the plane…no details… just a perfect package. The shimmer is so bright it’s almost blinding. Your excitement is at its peak as you simply watch the shimmer…your senses are so stimulated that you refuse to “ruin it”.

Starting a relationship is sometimes like moving to a new city. It’s a long plane ride but looking out that window right now, you’re excited about a new beginning. This “FEELS” right, you say.

It’s 7 am and the alarm goes off. It’s a bit early but you don’t mind. You didn’t sleep deep in anticipation of “meeting” your city and “exploring”. You can’t wait to begin life in the new city.

As you step out of the apartment, the sunny day that you saw 45min ago when you woke up, has disappeared. It’s pouring now and you didn’t factor “getting around on foot in the rain” in the plans. You had a car and a garage in the old city and when you Google mapped the distance from your new apartment to the subway, it was only 2 blocks. “NICE! HOW CONVENIENT-I can walk that every day!” That’s what you said…forgetting that two blocks in torrential rainfall is like going swimming in your clothes. So…as you move to your new city relationship, remember:

It’s not the raw distance that matters…it’s the obstacles and trials we face during that seemingly short distance, that matter. 

The actual acts and tasks of being a great partner in a relationship are not hard. It’s not about how long you have been together. Everyone seems to know what it takes to have a great partner. It’s the stuff (values, time, money, personalities etc) that surround those things that make them hard.

That’s how we humans switch from mood to mood too.  That switch is always a shocker in new relationships, isn’t it? The person you had so many cute, cuddly, heart pacing conversations with just goes from sunny: bright, positive, optimistic, encouraging and considerate, to pouring rain irritated, negative, pessimistic, and inconsiderate. – Just remember, the best relationships are not the ones with no rain. It’s just the ones that have more sunny days than rainy days.

We are humans; we can’t be perfect ALL the time:

No matter how great our new partner tries to be, he/she will not always be that perfect person. (of course if your relationship is just one big thunderstorm you may need to take a large bite of the sour truth pie).

You finally make it to the subway and on the train. It’s your first day in your new city and you wonder what it has in store for you. Before you complete that thought, someone steps on your foot and didn’t even look back to say sorry…they didn’t even know they did. You wince and almost reach out to snuff the life out of this offender but you let it go after some curse word almost makes it out of your mouth.

Sometimes, elements in our new partner/relationship will step on our foot without even knowing it:

They say something or do something that hits a nerve and they don’t even stop to acknowledge or see if they hurt your feelings…because they did what they are used to doing without thinking you’d be upset. Inside your head though, you’re hissing like a hurt Cobra ready to strike. It happens. That’s where your Emotional Maturity comes in. You’ve got to be able to convey your “frustration” without striking in the “hissing hurt Cobra” state.

You get out of the subway and its 3 blocks to the location of your job interview. The rain has stopped now. Thank goodness. You’re sort of lost so you ask for directions and the hotdog man confidently tells you how to get where you are going…You thank him and take off jolly. 15 minutes later, you’re not there yet.  You realize you’re lost and that curse word that was lingering around your tongue explodes as you realize that you WILL be late to your interview.

It is very possible to get wrong relationship directions from wrong, confident sources: 

Sources that are wrong and yet confident. They don’t have enough information about where you are going but yet attempt to confidently give you directions. You will get lost. If your map is the Bible, you are sure that any good direction will have to come from that territory. Anything outside of it rings in your ear like metal on metal

It is YOUR responsibility to know where you are going:

There is nothing wrong with seeking relationship advice but you’ve got to know where you are going in that relationship, what you want and why you want what you want. The more of that information the RIGHT advisor has, the better help you will get.

You finally make it to and through the interview. As you come out …fagged out and famished, you look for a nice restaurant. Food was great…only that it keeps you in a seated on El Crapper all night with your face looking like crumpled paper wishing you ate what you knew.

As the days go by, the picture of the shimmering city you saw on that plane fades more and more into some distant file in your memory. Nothing shimmering and golden about this city…people are rude, the weather is terrible, there are puddles everywhere downtown, and you swear there is a conspiracy. It feels like every morning, the Taxi Association meets to discuss how to make sure they splash water on you as they drive by, and your picture is in every restaurant kitchen so that when you walk in, they pack the crap from the trash and cook your food “specially” so that you’re always in a seated position between 2am and 4:15am…clutching to your stomach for dear life.

That will happen for a while until you get into a rhythm and you start to own the process a bit. You buy a large umbrella; find the “trip planning” hotline for the city so you can fire the hotdog man as your GPS; you meet a food connoisseur at happy hour and get the inside scoop on the best hole-in-the wall restaurants that cook the way you like it; you find a church you like; a local live music spot; you meet a few coworkers who are weird like you and like weird stuff like you; you join an organization as a volunteer so now you know people need you… You start to feel like you belong. You start to SETTLE IN.

Slowly, the city isn’t so bad…you start to find the things that YOU like about the city. Relationships are similar in the sense that we don’t really know what we are stepping into because we have the birds-eye view of the person from a high level. We have a general sense of what it’s like and our attraction for that person will bring us in.

Even when we do our homework (Body, Soul and Spirit), we don’t have the close-up knowledge. That can only come with prayer, time and a desire MAKE IT WORK.

So…can you relate? Have you ever been in that situation before or know anyone who has? How did you/they handle it? Any additional thoughts? Comment below.