Is the Grass Always Greener?

I think that it is easy to always be waiting for the next thing to come along. Finishing school, getting a new home, getting married, having a baby, having another baby, getting that promotion, getting a new job, vacation, quarantine to be over.

It is good to look forward to things. We need to be working toward goals and accomplishing things, but it is too easy to get sucked into not enjoying the present. It’s easy to put off things until something changes. It is easy to choose to be inactive until the right circumstances arise. In those situations, I have found that waiting can be interminable.

Everyone has heard the phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” And I know this is something I fall into believing. There will always be something around the next bend if it will only get here!

It is easy to look at the lives people present on social media and wish that our own life looked more like that. It is easy to look at people who are in quarantine together and covet their lives, covet their swimming pool, covet their opportunities. If you look for it, someone out there is probably having more fun than you are, especially if that is your attitude. I fall into this trap constantly. “If only ___, I would be happier.” But when I am able to pause and reflect on my own blessings, and actually appreciate the good things in my life, I don’t have to be comparing myself to others or waiting for something better to come along.

Someone once pointed out to me that the New Church is the only church that isn’t waiting for something. We are not waiting for judgment day. We are not waiting for the second coming. We are not waiting for answers. We have it all, and we should be so lucky! Yes, I know that doesn’t mean we are perfect, or have absorbed all that the Lord has to offer, but it does mean that we don’t have to wait for anything in order to start.

But waiting is easier; expecting something to change in order for things to get better. But is it comforting to believe that the Lord is going to show up in person and fix everything? Maybe a little bit, but it is also intimidating. I think that it is much more comforting to realize that He has given us all the tools we need right now. He is always with us, always leading us, and never absent. 

For every smallest fraction of a moment of a person’s life entails a chain of consequences extending into eternity. Indeed every one is like a new beginning to those that follow, and so every single moment of the life both of his understanding and of his will is a new beginning. And since the Lord foresaw from eternity what man was going to be like in the future and even into eternity it is clear that providence is present in the smallest individual things, and, as has been stated, is governing him and diverting him so that he may be such, this being achieved by constant re-shaping of his freedom. ( Arcana Coelestia 3854)

The Lord gave us the tools to be happy right now. And when I pause and reflect on the fact that I was born into a family who knew about these truths, who cared about them and raised me in them; when I pause to reflect that I have access to these truths in the Heavenly Doctrine, I realize that I am actually much happier to have the life that I have, and not desire someone else’s advantages.

Someone once said to me, “Be happy where you are, or you’ll never be happy.” And this idea has stayed with me. If I am not allowing myself to find the happiness now, I will never be able to find the happiness in life. Happiness can be found now, because the Lord is always present, always wishing to be with us, and wanting us to be happy. No matter where we are, He is going to be present, and if we choose it, we can be happy now.

About Alison Cole

Alison Cole likes to describe herself as “a freelance useful person”. There are all kinds of people and jobs out there, but she likes the freedom to drop everything when someone is in need and go off on adventures to help out with new babies or anything, especially when it's supporting marriages and family! When Alison is not off nannying, she likes to occupy her time with drawing, painting and writing!

5 thoughts on “Is the Grass Always Greener?

  1. “Be happy where you are, or you’ll never be happy.” This reminds me of something my mom has always told me, “Bloom where you are planted.” Much the same thing. So I’ve tried to do that. I’m sure you are winning too in trying to be happy where you are! A good piece – thank you.

  2. I love this! Just the right blend of pragmatic and hopeful that I need right now. I love remembering that the New Church isn’t waiting for anything, that we really HAVE the tools at our disposal to live our best lives. Intimidating sometimes… but also so profound and hopeful.

    Thank you.

  3. I love the reminder that our church is the only one not waiting for something and how lucky we are to have the tools for happiness right now. Thank you, Alison!

  4. YES!! Isn’t it just so easy to see that lush, green grass on the other side?! -And especially in places like FB, all we usually see is that grass, since people don’t tend to ‘show off’ the rocky, dirty patchy-brown-grassed areas next to it. And as for every smallest fraction of a moment of a person’s life entailing a chain of consequences extending into eternity… That’s such a mind-boggling concept; hard for my human little brain to absorb. Such good points, Alison. Thank you!

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