“The grass is greener where you water it.” This was the quote that replayed in my head when my daughter and I traveled 6,000 miles to the other side of the world to gather the remaining belongings of our former home. (I didn’t make up this quote, by the way—I first saw it on Etsy.) I braced for a wide range of emotions—from sadness to guilt to relief to a longing to return.
But the prevailing emotion honestly surprised me. I was flooded with peace.
I prayed that God would show me whatever He wanted to show me. We were going to do fun things together, and I was excited about spending quality time with Tate. But we also came to say goodbye—goodbye to a physical place, and goodbye to the life we once lived.
I’ve mentioned before why saying goodbye was important for us, but I still wasn’t sure what, exactly, to expect. I’m completely serious—the calm flood of peace was unbelievably surprising. It just wasn’t what I really expected.
I don’t think it’s because I’m particularly gifted with wisdom, or because I knew exactly how to process all my emotions as they came. I think it’s because I’ve been blessed with a little experience in living out this quote: that the grass really is greener where I water it.
What does this look like for all of us?
• It means I find contentment when I’m cultivating my own lawn, and not gazing at my neighbor’s.
• I can’t sit around and just hope that my grass stays green. It takes work.
• When I’m watering my grass, I’m investing the resources that I’ve been given, not spending my energy wishing I had different grass.
• Heck, I’m blessed to even have grass.
Illustration by Brad Vetter
At the end of the day, this means:
• I’m focused on taking care of my tangible belongings, my relationships, my health, my lot in life—and not wishing I had something else. My energy is spent on stewardship, not on jealousy or ingratitude, unable to see my blessings.
• My body is healthy, my work is productive, and my relationships are flourishing when I work at them.
• It might seem like there’s always something better, somewhere more beautiful, or some house more functioning… and it’s true. There always will be. We’ll never be content on this earth until we’re grateful for where we are now. And when we finally are, it’s surprisingly enough.
• I can choose to be content with where God has me, and with what He’s given me.
• Life is good because the Giver is good, and when I make the most of that life, then will I find contentment.
So I sat on the return flight slowly crawling back across the Atlantic, and I was eager to squeeze my boys and return home. Home. Exactly where I belong.
Your grass is greener where you water it, too. What does this look like for you?
This post was first published on October 10, 2011, but it still rings true for me today. We’re all right where we need to be for a reason—it’s no accident.