I’ve been missing Manhattan…I’ve been missing my loves…

And so, before July is over…in honor of the 4th, my favorite of holidays, and in disbelief that it’s been a year since my fingers flew across the keys writing these words, I am reposting “Sparks” from…

New-Yorkers don’t stop.

They just don’t.
They’re always walking, talking, and Blackberrying.  I have yet to see a single hammock strung across someone’s premium-price penthouse patio.

They might miss the moment, but they never miss an opportunity…and America’s Birthday seemed no exception.

I am a hopeless romantic.  In the aftermath of a war-torn heart there is a sense that no gesture or sweetness or beauty is lost on those of us desperate to see God’s goodness everywhere in anything at anytime. We’ll melt as a warm afternoon dissolves into dusk, as dappled light shifts in our steps, as the sun goes to sleep.  And against the inky night sky, there’s nothing more dazzling than Independence Day…

Emily and I wandered out to the Hudson River, only a two block skip from our apartment, and walked the busy pier, looking for a spot to tuck in.
As we slipped slowly between revelers, I tipped a heavy smile at what I saw.
The moment done right.

Here “Going Green” means reusing a recent Prada shopping bag, now void of new purse to carry your picnicking supplies… out tumbled glasses for white wine and fresh fruit, cashmere throws, vintage cameras and decks of cards, books and bottles of Perrier.

We found two square feet of cement and snuggled between lovebirds and a giggling brood from Connecticut.
As we waited out the hour until the night sky was dark enough for the show to begin, I just breathed…
Breathed deeply of the fresh air and my surroundings and the communal romanticism of what was coming…

At nine o’clock, the crowd surged with expectation and stood to see into the distance.
Way in to the distance.
Way, way, way into the distance…. Uh-Oh.

The fireworks that we expected to roar overhead barely whimpered miles & miles away.  We all stood on our tiptoes to see a teeny-tiny somewhat flash of color so far away that even the crack and fizzle of the explosion couldn’t be heard.

And in that disappointing minute, every wine-sipping, moment-enjoying, Hermes-clad New-Yorker whined collectively.  They gathered their afternoon delights and started streaming home.  People who had been sitting in the hot sun for hours to save seats for the USA’s “largest fireworks display” walked past me grumbling and visibly upset.

Stepping closer to the railing and straining my eyes for the little light show,  I was determined to enjoy any bit of blazing color I could catch.

Determined to be content with the handful of inch-wide glitter I saw, I turned to find my sweet Emily and head home when,


Above our heads the.most.beautiful. fireworks I have ever seen EXPLODED!!!

The crowd that was left erupted in applause and screaming! For twenty-seven minutes we stood breathless as the canvas stretched above the water was painted in flashing gold and red and orange and blue and purple and green and silver.  Etching the night was a show that surpassed the every expectation of every spectator.  The beautiful curly-haired preschooler next to me sat atop her daddy’s shoulders and stretched her little fingers to the sky exclaiming “I think I can touch them! I’ve almost got them Daddy!”

And I stood there shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow Americans, and tears as hot as a lit match filled my wide eyes.  It’s one of my very favorite moments of every year.
I knotted my arms in tight against my chest and let the tears fall as the sparks flew.

It wasn’t just the weeping gold chandeliers in the sky, or the overwhelming emotion of love for my country…

It was that this 4th of July etched an illustration of God’s very grand goodness deep into the recesses of that sometimes-unbelieving heart of mine.

I chose to be content with what seemed less-than-ideal, a choice I rarely make…and as I stood thankful, something “immeasurably more than I could think or imagine” burst above me.

And isn’t He known for that? Lavishing us when we least expect it and holding out for our faithfulness when we do?

Tears both bitter at my too-often-doubt and sweet for His grace continued to pool.
This holiday followed quickly behind a week I’d never have guessed.
There was consistent surprise, blessing and tenderness in days wrapped in serving with new family.  God had orchestrated a perfect gifting as these brothers and sisters did more to bless our lives and rush our empty spirits with a palpable, pure, plain love than I have known in a while.

There was much, much, much needed laughter and warm embraces, and the most honest of prayers and certain gazes that made my insides shake, and somewhere between the surprise that was Riva and the brightly jeweled darkness, the breeze slipped over my skin and I felt God wooing me.

As I blushed at His pursuit, a beckoning I don’t recognize nearly enough, I listened intently for His voice and shared the longings of my soul…and let me tell you something…

sparks flew.

One Response

  1. what a gift

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