The day I got married was my all-time favorite day.
Sure, I went a little nuts with the hot glue gun in the weeks leading up to the big event, making over-the-top bird cage centerpieces. And yes, there were tears I vowed I'd never cry about things like booking the band and the catering menu. But by the time the actual day dawned everything was perfect.
I mean not perfect.
My dress got stuck on the back row pew and I almost got slingshotted backward walking down the aisle. And there were pictures we forgot to take and people I didn't get to talk to. But still, there was magic in the air, as everyone we loved gathered in one place to sing and dance and eat cake.
My heart has never been so full, before or since. Thinking about our final dance, spinning around and singing along to Journey's Don't Stop Believing never fails to bring a smile to my lips.
Compare that to yesterday. My husband is sick, which is not his specialty. He's grumpy and tired and struggling to get life done with a cough that won't quit. I'm in the final weeks of pregnancy and am having trouble sleeping, so the days are long and exhausting. My toddlers are feisty balls of energy that leave a mess in any space they've occupied for more than two minutes, so everything in my life is dirty or out of place.
By bedtime last night, not only did our tiny apartment look like a tornado had blown through, there'd been yelling and harsh words and even a slammed door.
Not exactly magical.
But that’s life – the sublime and the mundane, the good and the bad, our best days and our worst. If we’re living as people who really believe God works all things together for our good, to make us more like Jesus, then we should expect both kinds of days.
The author of Ecclesiastes knew this. In many ways his book is a warning that life’s highs and lows can be deceptive. Good times create the false expectation that life will always be good. It won’t.
Bad times create the illusion that life has no meaning, no purpose, no justice. Not true.
What is true is that life is both/and. God designed it that way, as we read in Ecclesiastes 7:14 (The Message):
On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won’t take anything for granted.
Both kinds of days are in the plans, friends. So don’t be surprised when life is terrible – or wonderful. That’s how God arranged it.
There’s a warning implied here and it’s this: Don’t spend your good days waiting for the other shoe to drop. Take time to enjoy your life. Treasure those moments when everything is working, when the music is playing, when it seems like love is everywhere you look.
We're in the middle of some big life changes. If I’m not careful, I end up filling good days of time with friends and meaningful work and joy in watching my kids play with worries about the future and silent brainstorming about logistical challenges. Instead I’m trying to remember this advice from the author of Ecclesiastes to enjoy life, savoring the good days and not filling them with fears about the future.
And on the days when doors get slammed and things get yelled that I’d rather not repeat here in cyber-space, I’m taking time to tune in, to listen to the Holy Spirit, to examine my heart and ask myself where I need Jesus in the middle of it all.
God arranges for both kinds of days so that we don’t take anything for granted.
I’m learning to live that truth.
This post originally appeared at Middle Places.