Years ago while attending church, we decided to sit on the right side instead of the left. After some time, I noticed my 3-year-old looking around. Just then, he asked, “Is this our new church?”
It took me a minute to understand. After all, couldn’t he recognize all the sights and sounds that seemed so familiar to me? But then it occurred to me that for him, things looked different from where he was sitting. This simple change had provided a new prospective.
Already at 3 years of age, he understood that even while sitting in the same situation, under the same circumstances, we still have an opportunity to have a different experience.
So often we believe that in order to be happy, we must change the situation, only to find ourselves with the same problem but with different names and faces attached to it. Little do we realize that it is not the situation that needs to change, it is us that needs to change.
It’s amazing how much baggage we are willing to carry. We just pick up and move from one problem to the next, wondering why we are so exhausted and worn out. We’re tired because the load is too heavy. So put it down. Let it go. Only then will our arms and hands be free to receive what we’ve been searching for.
Unfortunately however, we often are so attached to our baggage; to our pain that we refuse to put it down. We often believe that we are what we carry. And without it, we will lose. But actually by letting go of what we have picked up along the way we will see that beneath the baggage we have acquired a new set of muscles that we did not know we had.
Because of our experiences and the resulting baggage, we have grown stronger and have actually gained rather than lost. Knowing this affords us the opportunity to sit with a situation, but from a position of appreciation. It means that even under the worst conditions we are grateful. Which is to me, the definition of resiliency.
I have always understood “the grass is always greener on the other side” to be a reference to wanting what we don’t have or to what we believe would be possible if only we could change our situation. I’ve always pictured it as looking longingly over the fence wishing to have it as good as someone else.
But now it seems more significant than that. Instead of looking over the fence to the other side, I now imagine looking at my own grass, but from the position of the other side of the fence. From there, my grass will always look greener. It could be that from this perspective, we are at a distance and can see the problem more clearly. We can see the weeds for what they are, instead of seeing it as all bad. It becomes manageable that way.
But also, with a new perspective, we can see that every problem comes with its own solution. Now what we could not see before suddenly becomes clear. And we are grateful.
I have always heard that small changes in our routine can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our brain’s functioning. But more than that, simple changes such as what you have for breakfast, or taking a slightly different route to work, or sitting in a different spot at church can invite a much needed fresh perspective. Through the eyes of my son, I can see, my grass is just fine. And as always, I am grateful.