It was another July 4th on the Charles
River in Cambridge (MA), and darkness had already descended when
we arrived, just in time for the show.With Michael and Jessica in tow, I had once again successfully navigated
up to the front of the throng of thousands.25 years of experience had again resulted in achieving an "almost
perfect" spot -- directly across from the fireworks barge on the Cambridge side of the
river.You can't get much closer to the
fireworks, unless you are on a boat in the middle of the Charles (something I
will have to do one day ...).
Then, I noticed that some trees were going to obstruct our
view of the low-level fireworks (which explode just a short distance above the
fireworks barge itself).Alas, in the
darkness and in my haste, I had aligned myself with the wrong ship.The barge was actually to the left a little.
I beckoned to Michael and Jessica to follow me, which they
did (albeit reluctantly).I moved us to
the next spot, parallel to the barge.No
But Michael and Jessica were unhappy.They wanted to be allthe way up front, instead of a few
"rows" back from the edge of the river.However, we did not have time for that.People were set in their spots, and the
fireworks show was beginning.
"Ooooh!Aaah!" the crowd exclaimed with each burst of color.
But Michael and Jessica were beginning to whine, annoying
the other spectators.Michael and
Jessica wanted to be up front so that they could see better, rather than having
their line of sight blocked by the (much taller) people in front of them.I picked them up to give them a better
vantage point from my arms.Now they
But they are no longer small children.At ages 5 and 7, they are huge, and I find
myself unable to hold both of them up together in my arms for very long.
I put them down.The
annoying whining resumes.I try to pick
up one of them at a time, but whichever child is left on the ground immediately
makes known his/her displeasure with that approach.
I pick them both up.Peace.
They become too heavy, and I put them down.Whining.
Finally, I have had enough.
I grab each of them and force them to accompany me,
completely leaving the river.Now their
whining has become all-out crying and wailing.I chastise them, threatening to take them home.Completely exasperated, we are now far away
from any decent viewing area at all.
By ourselves, away from the crowds, I (angrily and
disgustedly) start heading us back towards the subway, to go home.However, I decide to make one more try to see
(at least) some of the fireworks.Michael and Jessica have settled down somewhat.Their crying & whining has settled down
to a few sniffles.As Jessica sucks her
fingers and Michael clings to me, we get a spot where we can at least see
But now we are in a very poor location.We are many "rows" back from the
river's edge, and the trees are significanty blocking our views.This time, it is not just the barge-level
activity which is obscured.Now,
one-third of the sky is obstructed by trees.And (wouldn't you know it) the fireworks are exploding right in that
portion of the sky.
I become very disappointed and angry.Michael and Jessica have "ruined"
for me an event which only comes once a year!
But, slowly, after a few moments, I gradually learn to enjoy
what I still have.I glance down and
relish Michael and Jessica clinging to me.I enjoy their private "fireworks" as they playfully wave at
each other with their blue, light-up sparkler toys (which I had purchased
earlier from one of the street vendors).
I exchange brief, smiling, “pleasure-link" glances with
the 60-ish gentleman next to me, as we both delight in a fabulous
fireworks-music-synchronization moment of the show:As Christian music artist Sandi Patti's
stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner loudly serenades us over the
high quality loudspeakers, an explosion of bright, red fireworks erupts in
perfect synchronization with,"and
the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air..."
Moments later, gold chains of iridescent sparklers dangle
from the sky."Nice!" I
reflexively exclaim, as Mr. 60 and I "high five" each other with our
eyes and smiles.
This is life!Not
controllable.Not what we want.Not how we wanted it.But enjoying what God allows us to have.
As Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I
know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have
learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well
fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through
him who gives me strength.
The fireworks show comes to an amazing, sky-filled,
multicolored, brilliant conclusion at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.Truly, a glorious evening.
“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
Two interesting videos (regarding behind-the-scenes operations of setting up the Boston July 4th fireworks barge) are located below. Note that Flash is required to view the videos. Also note that the first 45 seconds of the second video is low volume/quality. However, the latter part of the second video is easily audible.