Michael and I moved to New Mexico twenty-two years ago.  It was August when we arrived here from North Dakota.  As September arrived, we kept hearing all the excitement build regarding the balloon fiesta.  We decided to set aside the time to go to the opening day of the fiesta events. Since we were living in Los Alamos at the time, we knew that we had a bit of a commute to get to the fiesta the morning of the first mass ascension.  The night before the event, we prepared ourselves by packing extra clothes for our two children, bagging up some snacks and drinks, gathering some folding chairs and getting everyone to bed early so we could get up at 4:00 am to head to Albuquerque.  None of us got much sleep that night because we were all so excited. 

When morning arrived, no one complained about getting up early because we had all anticipated and prepared ourselves for this.  When we arrived at Balloon Fiesta Park, the traffic, parking, people, cool weather, and walking were a bit cumbersome, but no one complained because we knew we were so close to seeing this amazing event.  The mass ascension was incredible.  Walking out on the field with all of the balloons, watching them fill with hot air, take off and soar was beyond what words could describe.  We were in awe of what we were feeling as we watched each balloon take off.  Seeing the sky filled with wonderful colors was incredible and the special shapes brought excitement to our children.

Somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00 am that morning, we all began to crash.  First, the sun became very hot and we had to shed our second and third layers of clothing.  Next, our feet began to hurt from all the walking and our arms were tired from carrying all our “stuff.”  We became irritable as we dealt with all the people around us.  Tiredness kicked in and grumpiness took over from lack of sleep and we began to snap at each other.  The smells from all the food vendors enticed our hunger and the kids began to whine and nag for hot food.  Spending a fortune on breakfast burritos and cinnamon rolls didn’t help our attitudes that morning.  By 10:30 am, we were done with the festivities and ready to head for home.  We became more focused on the inconveniences of the morning rather than the joy of the event.  Needless to say, we found ourselves arguing in the car on the way home.   

Marriage is a lot like our experience at the Balloon Fiesta.  We get excited about marriage prior to the wedding.  We prepare and plan and talk nonstop about how wonderful it will be.  When the day to say “I do” arrives, we are thrilled and excited and ready to handle just about anything.  The wedding is (in most cases) an incredible day to remember.  However, somewhere between day one of being married and day 1,894, we lose sight of the marriage and begin to focus on the negative aspects of the relationship: she complains too much; he doesn’t pick up his clothes; she tries to control me; he never listens.  Like the balloon fiesta experience, we lose sight of all the wonderful details of the event and we begin to turn an amazing covenant into nothing more than a mediocre event. 

One thing I forgot to mention about our balloon fiesta experience was what happened as we drove away from Balloon Fiesta field.  In the midst of our arguing, we looked up at the sky and saw all the colors from the balloons and stepped right back into awe concerning the whole event.  Within minutes, we had turned to each other and smiled.  We suddenly remembered what the day was about. 

Maybe you and your spouse have lost sight of what your marriage is all about – maybe you have gotten so caught up in the negative that you cannot see the reasons you fell in love in the first place.  Maybe you aren’t looking up at the “sky” but you are focused on the “hot sun” or “your tired feet.”  It only takes a minute to change your focus and to look for the good in your relationship.  It’s there – it has been all along – it’s just a matter of where you are looking and what you are choosing to remember.

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