Autumn is an insanely beautiful time of the year–in most places other than Florida. The color doesn’t quite reach down here. Hurricane season is still going on. Wind, rain and the need for ongoing lawn mowing is still our reality. But we haven’t dipped into the really cold temperatures of our northern neighbors either. And it’s those cold snaps that are needed for the colors to be revealed.
This is truly a “grass is greener somewhere else” moment. I find I live there more and more as I get older, and that is downright daunting. Erma Bombeck, a wonderfully funny lady who wrote books and had a newspaper column years ago, once said that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence because it’s over a septic tank. That makes a ton of sense. What is a septic tank but a boatload of poop? And what is poop but natural fertilizer? The more abundant the fertilizer, the greener the grass.
I find that I frequently don’t think about why another person’s situation or another life possibility might appear so tempting, so desirable. I just know that it looks better than what I have or what I’m experiencing.
I took my grandkids out for frozen yogurt while their parents were gone. A fun treat from a fun Nana. (Who doesn’t want to be the favorite?) Isley was overwhelmed by the choices–at two, everything looks good. I wanted her to see what was available before she decided which one she wanted, so I carried her around to see the pictures of the different flavors. (Was I kidding myself? Do I even think through choices at my age?) She squirmed like a puppy, and pointed at every choice. So I offered chocolate. And she agreed. We all got our yogurt (the grandsons surreptitiously getting the bigger cup while I was occupied with their little sister), and sat down to eat. Isley took a few bites and said, “I no like it.” And she got up and ran to another flavor. “I want that one.” Nana may want to be the favorite, but she’s not made of money, so I had to explain that this would be what she would eat.
Having had six children of my own, you would think I would have learned that reasoning with a two-year-old is not only futile but loud. We finished up quickly–not quickly enough–and headed back home. At which point Isley asked for ice cream.
When I got her to bed, I had to laugh. She is me. My choices may be more significant than a flavor of frozen yogurt–or at least I think they are–but I realize how discontent I become with what is mine and what I don’t have. Or experience. It’s so much easier to look at someone else’s life–or home–or car–or fill in the blank–and want what isn’t mine. And in that moment I lose the opportunity to find the joy in what is truly mine. In what is right in front of me.
My story is my own, a gift from God. He knows me, and He knows all my days and what it will take to become the person He knows I need to be. If the grass appears to be greener somewhere else, it’s because I’m not appreciating the fertilizer He’s using to grow me up. And there’s always plenty of that.
The issue becomes one of my willingness to embrace that fertilizer. The more it’s spread, the more beautiful the color that will result. No matter what the season.
Even in Florida.