One of the first blogs I decided to follow was Proverbsway: a blog devoted entirely to encouraging quotes. On that day, she had posted a piece entitled “The grass is greener where you water it“, and nearly four months later I still have those words rolling around in my head.
The quote from Neil Barringham is a wonderful play on the cliche that the grass is always greener on the other side. I have always imagined it applying to the discontent that we suffer from when we live in the “when I am richer, older, wiser, younger, have more friends, have a different job, get that contract, get that recognition…. THEN I will be happy” fantasy. Withholding joy and making excuses for our discontentment, we set our eyes on a mythical future of verdant green.
Recently, though, I am realizing that it is also possible to suffer from greener-grass-syndrome looking backwards. Perhaps circumstances mean you are in a new town, when you were perfectly happy where you were. Perhaps it means you’ve lost a job or a loved one, and your memory of your happiness then brings a concurrent sadness that you will never be as happy again. Perhaps it is something smaller – but yet there’s still that nagging feeling that you wish things could be the way they WERE. You were so much happier then.
I’ve recently been convicted that I’m standing on a very brown patch of figurative grass at the moment. It’s a silly thing, really. Our health insurance changed and we had to bid our beloved pediatrician goodbye and move to a new one. We’ve seen the new doctor twice and she was awfully nice – but throughout the meetings I found myself swallowing emotional bile: I REFUSED to like her. I was DETERMINED to be miserable about leaving our old doctor behind. Nothing and no-one could replace Dr O. No-one. Just let her TRY. I would NOT email her. I would NOT sign up for the online health network. I would stoically suffer through our patient visits, and keep a record of every time we had to wait, every time we were asked the same question twice.
Of course, like a hypocrite, I was hoping my kids would enthusiastically embrace the change – but they took their cue from their determinedly-morose mama and left the doctor whining too. Their misery threw mine into sharp relief, and I felt like I’d caught a glimpse of myself scowling passing by a mirror. All that staring wistfully back into the past had left me scowling at the present, and God showed me how ugly it was.
Yes, the grass behind us was truly green, but it is behind us. Right now, I’m standing on grass that is dying from neglect.
The grass is greener where you water it.
I realized we have no chance at building a good new relationship with our new doctor unless I’m willing to water the ground I find myself on. I have to relax, think well of her, encourage her. I have to sign up for the online patient relationship. I need to INVEST in the situation we are in now – for the health of my kids and the health of my soul. I need to overcome my complaint and water my grass with gratitude: thank you that we have a kind doctor (drip), thank you that we have health care (drop), thank you that none of us was ill during the transition (drip).
It’s a slow process, but I think I see the first signs of growth: little blades of green emerging under my feet.
Don’t forget to water, friends. Don’t forget to water.