Sometimes the grass really is greener

Friday, August 2, 2019
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Kathleen Kjolhaug
Religion Columnist

Theology in the Trenches

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” We’ve all heard it said.

This old saying helps remind us that we are not supposed to get any grandiose ideas about life being better elsewhere. It suggests we should be satisfied where we are at as the truth is … just because the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence … does not mean it is. After all, there are side effects to having greener grass. Along with green grass comes the fertilizer and water bills … not to mention a sprinkler system needing to be put in, and a lawn which needs mowing more often than not.

On it goes because along with greener grass comes a few free-loaders now and then. You know … a goat or two that might want to nibble and take advantage of what’s looking good. As well, my guess is that if the grass is greener, those who are displaying the image could be using a filter to lure you in. You get the picture.

Well, I gotta confess here that I always yearned for greener grass at various points in our marriage. You see, our house was planted on a farm site that is nice enough, but I never knew where the farm yard ended and our personal yard began. I wanted a lawn in which the kids could play. I wanted a fenced in area that gave me some sense of where our living space was. It seemed as though we and the land were one alright, but I wanted a place to organize my space. I wanted boundaries. I wanted to know where I could plant flowers, where the kids could play safely, and I wanted a yard of green grass defining our space.

I never had it … until … one day I did. The century farm and a tree that marked time with it soon were enveloped in the storm of the century. Half a tree that century tree on our century farm soon became and along with that a sight for sore eyes. All of its grandeur was no longer standing before us. We grieved the loss but let it stand for a while … while we pondered what to do.

I was out of town when I got the call.

“The tree’s gone,” my husband announced unemotionally one night.

“What do you mean? You took it down?”

“Yes,” he responded. “And it actually looks pretty nice.”

I dreaded the thought. After all, even though I didn’t have a yard, so to speak, what I did have was a huge old tree which offered respite. It offered shade. It offered the epitome of what every farm house needs … one big beautiful old tree … until that, too, was now gone.

A few days later, I returned home. As I made my way up the driveway, I closed my eyes expecting the worse. Hopeful that it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought, I held my breath. As I rounded the last bend in the driveway … I paused.

My breath caught sight of something I did not know existed upon our century farm. Something had been there all along … MY YARD … and the tree had been in the way! Now before me spread one large luscious green grassy area right in front of our house. It’s what I’d wanted all along.

I always knew the grass was there … but now … it looked greener … brighter and it shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

After all … “He makes us lie down in green pastures ... He restores my soul.” And he did. Amen.

( Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)



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