I went to the World of Coca-Cola with my family today. At the beginning of the tour, there’s an animated film with cute cartoon characters and catchy sing-a-long tunes. It’s a little tale about what it takes to be happy by taking a peek at what happens inside a Coke machine once you put your money in. It’s all pretty good and entertaining except at the beginning what sets the whole crazy process in motion is one quarter going into the machine. Which is totally unrealistic. I can buy into a whole world of interesting and never-seen-before creatures inside every soda machine, who prepare the Coke from start to finish and send it down the chute with fireworks and live music playing, but only a quarter for a Coke? Please.

Anyway, one of the crazy creatures inside the machine are these furry things that look a bit like fuzzy earmuffs, only with big red lips on them.

(A depressed fuzzy ear muff creature)

And what happens in the film is one of these little guys is sad. He’s devastated because he fell in love with a dandelion, mistaking it for one of his own kind. And the dandelion just drifted away, as dandelions tend to do. And not seeing any other way possible to attain happiness other than in this one dandelion, the fuzzy ear muff creature just lays around all day, lonely and forlorn (it’s a classic Hollywood love story). That is, until the blue creature with the long neck who can sing and play guitar puts 2 empty coke bottles in front of fuzzy ear muff’s (heretofore unseen) eyes and points them in the direction of a whole field of dandelions, just waiting to be picked and loved.

Happiness. Returned.

When I saw all of this, it triggered thoughts of many people I’ve counseled with over the years. And not just because they look like fuzzy ear muffs with giant lips. It was the being zoned in on one dandelion person, one love that drifted away. It was being convinced there was only one way to true happiness, and when One Way was gone with the wind, it was all sadness, and being forlorn, and flopping around hopelessly. And sometimes I’ve had to play the role of the blue guy with the long neck who was good at playing the guitar (unfortunately I’m still not good at playing guitar, though occasionally I still try to be) and open their eyes to the abundance of other dandelions┬ápeople out there, some just as wonderful, or even more so, than the one that drifted away.

I’m sure we’ve all been there. Focused in on that one person, thing, career, dream that we once had. It was once in our grasp, but somehow found itself caught on a breeze and wafted out of our lives. We watched it disappear and then flopped around, sad and forlorn, just wishing she would come back, that it would be like it used to be, that we could do the things we once did, that he would call, that we could somehow return to that place, that time, that life. And whether you’re on the inside of a Coke Machine or out in the real world, that’s no way to live. At least not a fulfilled and forward way.

Your dream is not back there. It’s up ahead.

Fulfillment is not in that person. It’s in a purpose.

Life isn’t found in that one thing. It’s found in the abundance.

And if you want proof, stop looking behind you and start looking in front of you.

And if you still don’t believe me, just grab a couple of empty coke bottles, put them up against your wide eyes, and take a look around. Dandelions are everywhere. Great, green fields of them. As far as the eye can see. Every one of them put in its place by the fingertips of God.

The God who makes life is big and beautiful.

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