I’ve seen the trailer for Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby a few times recently. Have you heard that amazing/ghostly version of U2’s Love is Blindness?! Anyway, I can’t get the book out of my mind, so I just spent the past two days re-reading it. It’s one of my favorites and as a girl, I’d underline passages about Daisy, hoping that I would one day be like herâ€”have that melodious lilt and purr to my voice. But is any woman like Daisy, really? She is a myth, not to mention a terrible mother, and altogether more selfish than magical…but that’s a post for another time.
During this read-through, I realized how much of Gatsby, or at least the wannabe James Gatz, I see in myself.
James Gatz, the main character of the novel, spends his entire adult life obsessing over what he does not have–love with an old girlfriend named Daisy, great wealth, and power. He reinvents himself as Jay Gatsby, doing illegal work to make a name for himself and gain great riches, all in pursuit of reliving his past and reconnecting with his lost love (who is now married with a child). However, Gatsby becomes slightly delusional in his obsessive pursuit of this woman, wasting his entire life in selfishness, in fantasy, and focused on what could have/should have been; all of it leading to his tragic end.
In my weaker moments, I have been known to do some “reconnaissance” work on facebook. Hi. I’m Aubrey and I’m a facebook-stalker. Hi Aubrey.
Come on, you know you’ve done it too.
I’ve trained myself not to do this anymore because I just end up throwing a petulant pity party. Jealous of others’ accomplishments, I pout, close my laptop, and complain to Kevin, It’s not fair.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I completely forget to be thankful for the many blessings God has over-abundantly (and undeservedly) poured into my life.
The Great Gatsby has become a cautionary tale for me. I refuse to build my house on dreams, on fantasies, on the past, on envy. The grass is not always greener on the other side; it is green where you water, weed, and nurture it. (And yes, I did just take a Justin Bieber lyric and make it my own. If you have a problem with that, I will street-dance fight you. I just saw Step Up Revolution and learned some sweet new moves.)
I will tend to this life, this gift from God. I will not beat on ceaselessly into the past, or even into the vague-fantasy future. As I’ve said before, I don’t want to wish this season away and think, “Whew! Glad that’s over!”
No, I will worship God for the present moment.
I will trust in God’s perfect timing, practice contentment, and celebrate what He is doing nowâ€”even if, at the present moment, He is not helping my two-year-old fall asleep.
Better go practice that presentness…
Next up: The Glory of Celebrating Nothing