When I was a child, “a wonderful life” was something out of a 1970s sitcom. I think back to shows like Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley. Shows where conflict could be resolved within a half hour, and rarely was tragic, and almost always was filled with comedy.
As I grew into adolescents, the description changed slightly, and started to veer off course from the original script. And then I was diagnosed with epilepsy, at eighteen years old, just as my adult life was beginning to take shape. Wonderful life? You’ve got to be kidding!
Days filled with doctor appointments, blood tests, brain scans, and medications didn’t fit in the script I was beginning to write for my life. What sitcom modeled a life like that? None that I could find.
But life seldom turns out to be the one we would choose, and mine was no different. During the early days of my diagnosis I fought against the path. I thought if I prayed hard enough, or could just find the right medicine, that sitcom-life would fall back into place. But it didn’t.
Over twenty years have passed, and I’ve learned a lot of lessons, as any middle-aged woman has. I’m eternally thankful that life isn’t a sitcom, it doesn’t resolve itself in 30 minutes, and you don’t always get to write the script. But the saying is true: Life is what you make of it.
Now, at 40-something years old, I am living a wonder-full life. Married, 2 kids, house in the suburbs..yeah, it’s sort of like the sitcom I always dreamed. But it’s the “wonderful” part that is so different from my childhood dream.
I never could have imagined the life God had planned for me and my family. I marvel at the blessings that each morning brings. I am in awe of the plans that have been laid before us. Even the detours have been wonder-full. It’s a script that I could have never written on my own. Left to my own resources it would have been a predictable, well-organized life that would have bored any on-looker to tears.
Who would have thought that out of the chaos, disappointments, triumphs, tragedies, monotony, and simplicity, this wonder-full life could have been created?
And so as I reflect back on my childhood, back on the sitcoms that helped shape my expectations, I can only hope that what will shape my children’s lives, and my future grandchildren’s lives, will be what epic movies are made of.
And that whatever they make of their lives, that they will learn to call it wonderful, or wonder-full, whatever the case may be.