Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
There is a saying that the grass is always greener on the other side of the street, or fence or in Erma Bombeck speak, septic tank. The idea being that things look better from a distance but when you get close, most often you prefer your own yard. I thought of that this morning when remembering a friend from high school. I’m one of those odd people who attended the same school, with mostly the same children, from first grade through twelfth grade but when we got to ninth grade, high school, we did get an influx of new kids. One of those girls, Doreen, lived just a bit farther away from school than I did. If I’m remembering correctly she rode the bus to school but most days she walked home. I on the other hand, was driven to school in the morning by my father and picked up in the afternoon. Every day. By. My. Father. Get the emphasis? There was a bit of control involved.
To me Doreen, a beautiful, lively, outgoing girl, represented all that I did not have. She was comfortable with people. She was open, friendly, exuberant and she was allowed to walk home! Think about that for a minute. This walk was not a few blocks. I was probably a mile and a halfish from our school and Doreen, as I said, lived a bit farther. I should have been grateful to not have to walk in the unforgiving weather of Upstate New York but I wasn’t because Doreen’s walk home was a symbol of freedom to me. I have no idea what my chauffeured lifestyle represented to her but to me it represented distrust and entrapment.
One amazing day my father had a conflict and allowed me to walk home. I walked with Doreen and some other kids who went the same way, our little group shrinking as we traveled. There is nothing significant about that walk. Doreen and I did not become lifelong best friends who know each other’s every move to this day. Through school we were friendly and did socialize every now and then but that’s it. The walk was not a life changing moment for either of us. Today however it became a symbol for me once again, an event I’d all but forgotten, resurfaced in my mind to remind me of perspective, of vision.
As I said I don’t know how Doreen viewed my door to door car service but she could have been envious, especially on the 10 below zero days we experienced in Syracuse New York. She could have seen it more accurately as the issue of control that it most certainly was or she could have assumed I was a spoiled brat. She couldn’t know the whole story anymore than I could know hers. I envied what looked like freedom, trust and an intact family. Her grass was certainly greener in my eyes.
Was it truly? I don’t know. I didn’t live in her family. That is what struck me today. In that instance and so many others I’ve wanted what someone else had or appeared to have, something we all do at times. Lately I’ve been very content in my somewhat messy life and today our Father in heaven graciously used a long ago happy memory to remind me that I am right where He wants me to be. My grass is just fine, brown patches and all.
In that moment I said a little prayer for Doreen, praying that she sees her grass, most likely covered in a blanket of snow today, as green enough for her too. Our joy and contentment are not reliant on our circumstances. They are reliant on our faith and trust in the One Who Watches Over Us and will never let us go.