“The grass is always greener on the other side of the road.”
I’ve never really thought much about this statement or where it came from, but after living with a farmer, I believe I’m starting to understand. When we drive somewhere, he always takes a different route, barely watching the road for his persistence in examining the fields, crops, and barns of his neighbors. It drives me a little crazy and I end up watching the road to be sure he doesn’t drive off. He points things out to me and wants me to look, but I can’t look with him not watching the road! (It’s amazing to me that he’s made it this long without me riding alongside him…)
He has many reasons for what he does that I can’t even fathom, but I think one of them is to make sure his crops look at least as good, if not better, than his neighbors. It’s a way to measure his success. If his fields aren’t as green as everyone else’s, then he might be doing something wrong, may have not fertilized correctly, or so on. He wants his fields to be the greenest ones around and he makes sure he does everything he can to get them that way.
Now, if one of his neighbors comes along and sees his nice, green, smooth fields with straight rows and no brown patches, they should wonder what he’s doing that they aren’t. There might be extenuating circumstances – like the quality of dirt in the field – but if the two farmers traded fields, it’s highly likely that Rick’s new field would soon look very similar to the old field. He would apply the same farming principles to the new field as he did the old one, researching, trying new things, and maintaining high standards that have worked for him in the past.
To use a different example, I consider the women around me who have beautiful figures and bronze, glowing skin. Shoot. How did they get that way? Are they just genetically blessed? My sister is one of those tall and slender women who still has curves and can silence a room when she walks into it. (She will roll her eyes when she reads this, but it’s true.) If you tell my sister she just doesn’t understand the plight of the overworked, overweight, frazzled mother, she will laugh in your face. She works hard, has two children, and maintains her weight through rigorous exercise and a strict diet. She gets up before dawn and falls into bed at night exhausted. She has struggled with her weight and won the battle. She is standing in her own field of green, a green she has worked hard to achieve.
The grass I find myself kneeling in the days (with gratitude and praise to God) is the greenest grass around. I can walk in it without fear of falling into a hole and twisting my ankle. But that is because I’ve been walking this area for years, checking for holes, filling them in, watering the grass, seeding where it needed seed, and taking very good care of it. I did my part, God sent the sunshine and did His part, and the result is beautiful. It’s not the same green field my sister is standing in, nor is it the same as Rick’s, but I have cultivated what truly matters to me.
I must admit that sometimes I stare into the fields of my sister and women like her, wondering why I don’t have the discipline and focus they have to get their own fields so green. It’s a good reminder to be careful how I judge another person’s life. Before any of us get jealous, we have to as ask ourselves if we’re willing to do the work that person did to get what they have.