By: Ginger Hughes
We set up fences around a big, red barn and designated certain areas for cows, horses, sheep, and pigs. We threw hay in each corral and ensured each one had a water trough. We backed up the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, complete with horse trailer, and unloaded an Appaloosa named “Gus.”
We sat there together, my son and me, happily playing “farm;” my son perfectly content in his make-believe world.
A few minutes later, his sister bounded up the stairs asking if she could set up a farm too. “Of course,” I said, handing her some fence my son wasn’t playing with along with a few horses. She made a small fenced area, got down a little barn from the shelf and began to pretend.
I noticed my son, sitting there watching her. Even though she was using pieces of fence he wasn’t previously using, a few horses he had not been playing with, and a barn that was much smaller than the one housing his horses, what she had still looked mighty good to him.
Suddenly, his elaborate playscape wasn’t enough, because it wasn’t what she had. The ten horses in his many pretend pastures weren’t as enticing as the mere three horses she had in one small pasture. And his big red barn was not big enough, red enough, or simply enough any longer.
I saw the look enter his eyes, as his lips turned downward in a frown. “Mama, it’s not fair. She has my horses and my fence!” he stated firmly as tears threatened.
“Buddy, you weren’t even playing with those horses or that fence. Your sister wants to play too, and she’s not bothering the farm you’ve created.”
“It’s not fair!” he huffed again, tears spilling down his cheeks.
And suddenly I saw myself.
Do you ever do this? Do you ever look around at someone else’s life and sigh with exasperation because it’s a life you wish you had. Do you ever glance over at another with a frown and furrowed brow declaring it isn’t fair? Have you ever so completely lost sight of ALL the blessings bestowed on you and your family because you’re too busy noticing someone else’s blessings?
Interestingly enough, to the objective overseer (myself), what my daughter had wasn’t nearly as good as what my son had. She had fewer horses, less fence, and a much smaller barn; yet, she played happily. On the other hand, all my son could see was her playing happily with something he didn’t have. He lost sight of the fact that his barn was full and his pastures were green.
And so often friends, we do the same. Whether in our relationships, our financial circumstances, our educational or career paths, our successes, or even our families, it’s so easy to look at someone else’s life and want what they have.
Isn’t that what happened when David saw Bathsheba from the palace rooftop. He was the king. He had all he could have ever imagined, yet he still coveted the one thing he didn’t have. He still stomped his foot, perhaps even furrowed his brow, and declared it’s not fair. He took Bathsheba as his own, and the price he paid for his mistake was extraordinary.
Whether we see it in the life of David, or through the eyes of a three-year-old little boy, may we be reminded that the pasture is not always greener on the other side. Before we declare things unfair or possibly take things not meant for us, we must remember all the blessings and gifts we do have. For in gratitude, we can find true joy and contentment. And friends, in this broken world, these things are priceless.
-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.