Fireworks

Fireworks in DCWhen did you last see fireworks?

No, not the kind that’ll be going off in the sky this weekend… the kind between you and another person.

That old trope used in everything from classic cartoons to sitcoms to bad teen poetry, like many cliches, does have a granular bit of usefulness and truth to it. In this case, while it completely misses the specialness of, it accurately conveys the beauty and danger of falling for someone.

These days, fireworks are common. Once upon a time they weren’t. You’d only see the sky light up on really special occasions–not with every rock band and baseball game. Back then, it was really something special and awe-inspiring. The “ooo!” and “aaaaah!” of the crowd was genuine and not simply a conditioned (and/or ironic) response to something just slightly off from common.

The same is not true of the romantic kind of fireworks. In the sea of noise and distraction we live in every day, it’s become a little harder to feel those first bits of romance kick in. It’s not until something deep down speaks up loudly and explodes across our emotional field of view that we really take notice. And by then… well, by then we’re neck deep into something we didn’t necessarily see coming.

Even if you are among the lucky group that pays enough attention to see the nice sparklers we run into every day, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and not see the risk involved in the beauty.

The simple truth is, the risk is what fuels the beauty.

One of the reasons fireworks are awe-inspiring is because they’re made out of fire. Seriously. Touch them and you get burned. Treat them improperly and you can just get yourself killed.

When fireworks hit in a romantic relationship, they can blind us to incompatibilities we’d otherwise see. All too often, our personal fireworks are lit by physical attributes and not much else. That’s just the nature of the human being.

But the show is oh-so-pretty and it’s difficult to not end up in awe.

We should all take some lessons from the fireworks masters who put on the best shows: always check your setup before you light the fuse.

A moment of hesitation, of clarity, is a very important part of protecting ourselves and those we care about from a needlessly negative experience. In that moment, we have to take stock of who we are, what we are willing and able to offer, and where the firework-indicing attraction has come from.

That way we can make the firm decision to move forward, burn hot, bright, and high, any maybe, just maybe, actually become a star in the sky.

Yes, sometimes the risk is more than worth it. The most spectacular displays of pyrotechnics are also often the most dangerous.

In matters of the heart, the risks are more personal and intangible–losing face, losing friends, being rejected–but the success, of finding just the right chemistry with someone else, bring far more joy.

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