All of us, or at least most of us….. ok, ok, I have had moments in my life where I’ve looked over the fence and saw that the grass was so much greener in someone else’s yard; at least from my view point. Have you ever been there?
Maybe we need to pick a different fence to look over. I mean, I think pretty much everyone except Bill Gates can look at their “neighbors” and find something to make them jealous. To be honest, if you ask Bill Gates, I bet there are things he’s jealous of too; probably not material things his neighbors have (except their iphones – just had to say it ;), but there are a lot of other things that can make us jealous. What about the lady that walked past me at the store today, I swear she can eat all the ice cream she wants and maintain her high school weight without exercise! And how about that family at Applebees? Did you see them?? They had all four kids, under the age of ten, sitting and eating nicely; laughing and talking; yes, mommy; no thank you, daddy. Blah! Mine never behaved that well at a restaurant at that age. And have you seen that couple? They are just so sweet to each other, so in love, I bet they never fight and he always puts the toilet seat down.
Yeah, there a plenty of material and non-material things we can get a little jealous over if we think about it.
Maybe, just maybe, we should look over the fence at the other yard. You know the one I mean. We don’t tend to spend much time looking that way. Honestly, we don’t spend enough time looking that way. You see the yard on the other side of that fence has the dried brown grass with patches of mud. It’s not landscaped nice and sure isn’t a pretty sight to see. It has the grass hut for a house and the family that has to walk miles just to get water to drink, the couple who sit at their child’s bedside each night going through the painful ordeal of changing their bandages and administering medication. Yes, it’s the home of the woman who lost her husband way too young in a senseless car accident.
How come we hardly ever look in that yard? Why do we take so much time focused on the small percentage of the world’s population that have it “better” than us and so little time on those in need. I know we would be quick to say it’s because looking in the dried up yard is depressing. Is it really less depressing to us when we look at what makes us jealous? I know it tends to get me down if I spend a lot of time focused on keeping up with the Jones’ and all the things I don’t have but wish I did.
I don’t have a naturally optimistic personality. Sometime it can be exactly the complete opposite. (Did ya get that I’m not about to call myself a pessimist?) The funny thing is that a lot of the time while I’m going through something or in a certain phase of my life, I’ll be completely unhappy with it. I look over the fence at yards that I think are quite a bit greener than the one I’m standing in at the moment. The ironic part of all is once I’m out of that situation or phase of life I’ll miss it, and I’ll realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought; and somehow in my messed up mind that phase or situation that I was so unhappy in now looks like the yard with the greener grass.
But I don’t think it stops at just controlling our jealousies and regrets. We can’t just stop wishing we could go back in our past and re-live happier days and the world magically becomes a better place. The whole point isn’t just to make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. No, I think there is another step here. The next step would be seeing if there is anything we can do or any of our resources we can use to help fill in some lush grass in someone else’s yard, or at least water it a little. You know the one, the yard with the dried brown grass and patches of mud.
Is there a needy family that could use an anonymous gift of food left on their door step? If you don’t know of anyone, you could always contribute to your church or community food bank. Is there an elderly person who has recently lost their spouse and would love some company and maybe even lunch at McDonald’s?
I know what you’re thinking, those two ideas involved giving money of some sort and in this economy we don’t always have the extra funds. How about the single mom who could really use a babysitter for the evening so she could take a bubble bath at home and a nap? Or what about the pregnancy center, they could always use one of those beautiful baby blankets you know how to knit.
Do you get the picture?
I hope you as a reader don’t feel I’m being “preachy” here. Trust me, I tend to write about things that God has laid on my own heart; things in my life that need changed. This subject has been on my mind a lot lately.
Anyway, just a thought for this evening. Being pickier about which fence we choose to look over could help us and others out quite a bit. Allow me to be a little corny here, but… what the world needs now is love sweet love; not jealousy and envy. And what better way to be open to opportunities we are presented with than focusing our attention on the dried up yards covered in mud instead of the lush green ones.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”