Monday, March 19, 2012

the grass is always greener

I was thinking about this statement the other day. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I asked a friend, Laura, what she thought of it and she gave the answer that most of us probably would:

In the classical, romantic sense we have a tendency to idealize what we don't have. "If I just move, get another job, date someone prettier/more like me/less like me, THEN I'll be happy." I think there's truth to thinking about the statement like this. We have desires placed inside of us that we seem unable to satiate, no matter how hard we try. We find that our life situation isn't making us happy, so we seek to change it. We look for greener pastures, for wells that haven't run dry, or for easier living. Everyone, at some time, has thought about a change. But it also seems to be true that everyone has, at another time, cursed change when it comes without being invited.

That's neither here nor there, back to the point I'm wondering to.

I work at a restaurant called Northsar Cafe. Northstar was an early-comer the organic food craze, and because of this and their continued commitment to serving food that is good and good for you they've been successful. I was given a book called "The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals" during my orientation to the company. I, somewhat begrudgingly, started to read. Four days later I put it down and was a little more informed and opinionated about what constitutes "food" and what "food" I want to put in my body. I bring this book up because in one section the author, Michael Pollan, visits Polyface Farm. The farmer, Joel Salatin, practices a somewhat complex system of crop and animal rotation with the goal of a "closed loop" farm system. This means that the soil is naturally replenished, the animals are fed with what we cannot eat, and the crops are planted and farmed in a sustainable fashion. For a self-professed intellectual this fascinated me.

I bring up Joel's farm because after reading about it I started thinking of this cliche in a much more pastoral sense. When looking through the worldview of farmer Joel, the grass is always greener on the other side. The grass is always greener simply because the animals are not there. Where the animals are the grass has been eaten, processed, and pooped out. Where there aren't it, the grass, is lush and ready to have that whole process done to it. This is all a part of the plan of this farm: turning solar energy in to caloric energy that we can process.

So what if Jesus is the good shepherd, as He claims to be? Isn't there the chance that the grass is greener on the other side? That He is preparing these green pastures for you, and for me? And that by holding onto anachronisms all we are saying is that we don't trust, don't have faith?

I understand the need for being stationary, but I also feel this desire in me for movement. For travel. For being someplace new and exciting. Someday I may "settle down." But I choose to believe that not only the grass is greener on the other side, but that it's greener because the good shepherd is preparing it for me. And you.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The other night Jessica and I were hanging out and instagram came up. I mentioned to her that the reason why I like instagram is because it looks like what I want my social media experience to look like. If I were to have a "do-over" with facebook I'm sure that it would look a little different for me, which is to say that certain people wouldn't show up so much on my homepage. I like instagram so much because I'm so selective about who I follow. I do this because I don't need to see how much one person loves another person every day. I'm glad, but that's just not something that needs to go into my head, because it makes me feel lonely. That, I'm sure, says more about me than you.

But why bring up instagram at all? Well lately I've been wanting to take a picture, throw a "retro" filter on it, and write a witty caption. But I find myself not interested in doing that. For example: this evening the moon was out, and it was making a statement. It wanted to be felt. It was a pale blue, larger than you could believe, and was forcing itself onto the coming evening. 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But who's words? If you are looking at a picture I took, are they my thousand or yours? Or perhaps someone else? Or maybe five hundred of mine, five hundred of yours. I think that if you are looking at my picture you are thinking all your own words. You're thinking about how pretty it is, how hungry it makes you, how much you want some pie, about why I took that picture of myself, et cetera. But you are thinking your words.

I wanted to take that picture of the moon because it was making me feel things, and I wanted to communicate those feelings. And I didn't take the picture of the moon because no instagram photo, facebook status, tweet, letter, phone call, or text could convey the moment. Nothing short of being there with me could do that. I wanted to share that moment in it's entirety with someone and I don't think there's any other way to do that other than being present. I don't think that there will ever be a way to share the kinds of feelings you experience in a moment through radio waves, phone lines, or the internet.

While I was thinking about this I was trying to come up with a conclusion, because that's what I've been taught to do. And I couldn't really think of one. I wanna be with someone? Well, yeah, but that's already known by anyone who: 1. Knows me, and: 2. Is a person who also wants to be with someone. A post on the evils of technology and their inability to communicate the human experience? I suppose that's what it's turned into, but I didn't want it to feel like that.

So I don't know how to conclude this. Enjoy other people? If you get the chance to look at the moon, do it? Don't get your feelings hurt if I don't follow you on some form of social media? Yeah, I think those work.