THEY SAY the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. It’s an age-old adage, and I’ve heard it since I was quite young.
I’ve understood it as a warning to not covet what others have, and I’ve done a pretty decent job living that way, I think.
What I have failed to do until recently, though, is dig a little deeper into what it truly means.
Many might be moved to comment something like, “You need to learn how to love what you have, and be grateful for what God has given you.”
And while I think those are true sentiments and make a great deal of sense, it’s not always quite that simple. I believe that a fascination with a neighbor’s grass says less about the grass and more about one’s feelings of lack in life.
Sometime not too long after we’re born, we experience a *second birth*. This second birth is our initial awareness that we are individuals, separate from everything else.
It is at this point that we experience for the first time a sense of lack—a lack we believe can be filled by things, relationships, circumstances, careers, a set of religious beliefs, and countless other idols. We spend a great portion of our lives in pursuit of what philosopher/theologian Peter Rollins calls the “Sacred Object.”
As an artist, I spend a great deal of my time doing what Hamlet advises his players to do when he tells them to “hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature.”
One would think I might be able to see more clearly the type of folly that is the chasing after a phantom called “Certainty and Security.”
But, alas, I am not.
Instead, I have broken relationships, ruined opportunities, and even injured myself in my various attempts at acquiring what I thought others had and I lacked.
What I am learning to come to grips with now is a simple truth that being whole and complete is not something this life has to offer. That’s not to say I believe what happens after this life is what’s important either. I don’t have any idea what, if anything, happens to us after we die.
That would be the other side of the fence.
When I look on my own side of the fence I see, time and again, that I have been called to help my neighbor and spread love and forgiveness where there is none.
The symbiotic nature of our existence, I am finding, is demonstrated in how we love one another. Love is the very being that connects us and unites us. It was made manifest in our individual lives and in the lives of every living thing at the very moment of our creation.
In the giving up of this desire, we find our purpose in loving and serving others, and the returns on this investment are far greater than you can imagine.
Gradually and then suddenly, in the loving of another, the other side of the fence begins to look a lot less green than the garden that has begun to grow right inside your own heart.
Don’t be afraid, dear friends, of exploring your own yard. Your worth is not tied to what you have or have not obtained in this life.
There’s nothing wrong with ambition and drive to be your best self. Go get you some of whatever, I don’t care. Going after and obtaining *things* (which include relationships and the feelings we get from them) is part of this life’s journey.
I love things! My camera is one of my favorite *things* I have in my life right now (as are my children, Sarah, Watson, etc., etc., and the list goes on).
The difficulty for me exists in the complete and total lie I have believed for so long, to the detriment of so much — that my feeling of lack will be filled by the acquisition of *things*, whether those things be a job, a house, a car, money, etc.
Again, those are not bad things to go after, but do they satisfy your soul? Nothing but Love can do that.
Please know there is nothing to be obtained or lost that is attached to your value, your worth as a unique, beautiful child of
Are you perfect just as you are? Am I?
Of course not! And where did you ever get the idea you were being called to perfection? There is no such thing! There is no *call to perfection* because perfection does not exist.
Strive for it, work hard for it. There is great value in the striving to be your best self. You will never arrive, though. That’s not the point. The destination is the journey. The destination is the striving.
With every breath you take you are moving ahead, evolving, going in one direction or another based on your choices for which you alone are responsible.
Choices and their consequences. That’s all life is — choices and their consequences.
And yet, we’ve not been left alone and abandoned.
How do I know this?
I know this because of the experiential reality of three fundamental beauties that exist to us like the water to the fish–
Faith. Hope. Love.
And the greatest of these is Love.
You, dear reader, are God’s delight, as my new friend Marlena Graves would say.
Happy Sunday, dear ones. You are so very valuable and destined for joy. I hope you know how important you actually are!
And, btw…I love what you’ve done with your garden!
Peace to you.