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.


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