Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Neighbor's Lawn

We've heard the old cliche', "The grass is greener, on the other side." It is human nature to look out onto another's field or pasture, wondering what it might be like if we were over there, ruminating, instead of where we are now. Comparisons can be poisonous, deadening the gifts and creativeness that are uniquely ours.

 Since my kids have spent more time together, this summer, I've heard my share of squabbles and bickering: "Mom, she has more than me. Mom, he always gets to go first! Mom, I don't want her looking at me anymore...Mom, she called me 'Adrio', again!...Mom, he's being naughty--he's a dunker(what that is, I'm sure I don't know)!"

While humorous, my ears can grow tired of the daily whining and wailing of my four and six-year old. To be fair, once they get past this stage(usually after breakfast), they play well together. It is a beautiful sound to hear them role play, pretending to set up house. Sometimes the stuffed animal cats are 'nursing' their babies--so adorable. In the building process of parts to toy vehicles, there is all manner of tape, stuck to my carpet: the gray sticky kind as well as the familiar beige masking tape. We run out all the time...if you ever get a present from us, and we have to use duct, electrical, or some other adhesive--you know that we ran out of scotch tape, again.

We can learn so much from children, can't we? So much of what we observe, in their world, mirrors what we adults struggle with: significance, validation, provisions, using our gifts. It is the difficulties of life that often drive us to compare and wish that we had something better. I remember a time when I was complaining about the taste of what I was given. A wise person said to me, "do you know why the grass is always greener?...think about it: because it is well-fertilized!"

How true. When we look out onto the horizon of another person's field, we see the beautiful green, staring back at us--and hopefully, it doesn't create in us the 'green envy' we'd all like to avoid. But what we don't see is what is hidden. The refuse of life, that has been turned under in the soil of adversity. The past, the hurts, the trials that have made that person who they are, today. We don't know this unless we've walked in their pasture, with them. And it would be wise to wear the appropriate footwear, while doing so.

So let our hearts remain tender, humble before God. Knowing that He is doing a work in each of us that is not yet complete. Let us have empathy for those who are struggling; joy, for those who are doing well. On this day of our nation's freedom, let us be thankful for all that we have and for the sacrifices that have been made on behalf of this country. Have a blessed day!