The rest of the fireworks

Published 11:28 am Friday, July 8, 2022

Happy (late) Fourth of July! I’m writing you, dearest readers, with sunburned fingers because I spent two full days on a lake. I was thrown from a jet ski. I saved a baby deer from drowning. I saw fireworks from a boat. Today? Well, today I’m suffering from soreness and painful showers.

But the fireworks. Let’s talk about them.

I was sitting on this boat on the Fourth of July, watching fireworks explode in the sky, recalling the last time I’d heard fireworks. It was on New Year’s, right at midnight.

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Picture it: I’m in a church on some Atlanta backroad with three-hundred guys and girls in their twenties.

Whereas I’d thought my New Year’s celebration would look like champagne on a rooftop and fireworks above us, I’d gratefully been invited to a midnight worship service. While I was there, surrounded by Jesus-loving people my age, and they said, “We’re going to enter this year with prayer.”

So we paused the worship music, and we started praying. The church was silent. My Year of New Things was ending. And I could tell the very moment that midnight struck because the fireworks started to explode, popping just outside the chapel. They surrounded us, bursting right outside the window, and just like that. . . the year ended, and a new one began.

It was a refreshing and subtle way to end my Year of New Things––starting the new year with prayer. Little did I know that the next time I’d hear fireworks, I’d be on a boat with the same people from that worship night, having a smooth-sailing year.

I’ll never forget the music starting back up in the chapel, accompanied by the roaring background noise of the new year and world around us. Meanwhile, I was in a present moment of worship, of letting go and taking in, of peace indoor the chapel and chaos just outside the stained-glass windows.

So, now, picture this: Monday evening, I’m on a boat, with my sunburn and messy bun combo, and I was watching the fireworks. Today, I’m reflecting on the last time I saw them, seeing how much has changed since then. Today, there’s a lot of present moments. Today, there’s a lot of taking in instead of letting go.

You know how once you light a firework, you run up to it with a lighter, spark the fuse, and run away, watching a beautiful masterpiece from the safety of a far away place? Looking back on this year, that’s kind of what it has felt like––sparking the fuse of a good year and seeing it play out right before me.

I didn’t know what it would look like. I didn’t know what color it would be, or how loud or quiet it would be, or who would be watching.

And even though they say fireworks are money up in smoke, everyone always comes out to see them. I know I do, and it’s undoubtedly worth the time.

 

So that was my Fourth of July.

 

Now, for the rest of the fireworks.