Today’s Readings make me wonder if we think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, instead of loving the yard we live in. Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 7 to lead the life that the Lord has assigned us. He mostly talks about married and single people, exhorting listeners to be happy in their present situation. Luke’s version of the Beatitudes remind us how the present can shift without notice. Those who are full will be hungry and those who are laughing will weep. Blessed are you now for what will come.
Many of us experience unhappiness or dissatisfaction in life. Before we know it, the words stumble out of our mouths, revealing our discontent. It is back to work today….one day, you may find yourself unemployed and regret that you groaned about heading back to the office, classroom, or boardroom. The kids are driving me crazy….and then one morning, you wake up to an empty nest and wonder where the years went. I will never find my Prince Charming/Cinderella….without relishing your current singleness and all the gifts that brings. I do not have time for my parents right now–my life is so busy….until the funeral day arrives and your heart aches for not creating priorities differently. Rejoice in this day and leap for joy, Luke writes. Is that the lesson we need to keep learning? The only moment you have is now. If at all possible, can we embrace whatever that moment brings to us?
I am finding that my emotions leak out of me unexpectedly. When I spoke to the second-year medical students recently, I spoke of a doctor who had promised me that he would do the very difficult procedure, knowing that it might take awhile. Suddenly, I was back in that moment, laying outstretched on the table, feeling his anxiety but more than that, confident that he would keep his word, and I lived anew into the commitment that physician made to me which allowed me to still be here today. I was broadsided by that emotion both times I told my story. The gratitude for that man and his team flooded me as did the realization that I could have died by now. I did not though and I am still here, sorting through all the emotions that come with my history and prognosis on this latest adventure of mine. I weep at the moment but I do laugh. God has blessed me and I am grateful.
All of this often seems surreal to me still, despite the calm exterior most days. Thankfully, that ticking clock seems to have quieted a bit. Over the weekend, I ran into an old schoolmate whose partner shared how another friend of them made it past his expiry (best before) date. That image made me laugh. My plan is to surpass mine too and hopefully not grow too moldy in the process. The conversation also rolled around to what I want to do now–what remains that must be done. I have always tried to be content with my life, to finish business and to live fully. I created a life list (a happier term than bucket list) decades ago and set out to explore new, exciting adventures at that time. Why wait until it is too late? In keeping with the original analogy, I have watered my own garden, gathered with joy the fruits of my labour, cut the grass when necessary, rearranged the landscape from time to time, and looked across the fence to see what was interesting that I might want to add to my yard without being obsessed by comparison. My life has pretty much been a blessing for which I am grateful. This makes all the difference in this moment. I can find peace within because I have planted those seeds of contentment over the fullness of my life. That is a pretty amazing place to be.
What does your grass look like to you?
Are there any grumblings in your head that need a tune-up?
Creator, you have given all of us green grass. Help us to care for our piece in this world and to nurture it well, without complaint or excessive longing for the neighbour’s lot. Amen.