The grass is always greener on the other side.
What is it about us that makes that old cliché ring so true? Last Friday, Kim and I went to an Andrew Peterson concert. It was a pretty small venue, and we got great seats. After only a few songs, I was in total awe. I was mesmerized by Andrew’s musical gifts, melodic harmonies, and brilliant songwriting. I secretly wished that I could be so musically inclined. I was bummed — and a bit jealous — that God had not bestowed upon me the ability to play a guitar in a fashion that wasn’t reminiscent of a train derailment.
I know, I know, I should feel lucky that I have been blessed with my artistic abilities, a fairly good sense of humor, and a homemade alfredo sauce to die for. But I hardly think I’m alone. Don’t you ever sometimes feel like the gifts you have just don’t seem to be as thrilling or important or useful as the next guy’s?
I really like this story about a king and his garden:
A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, only to find everything withered and dying. He asked the oak tree that stood near the gate what the trouble was. The oak tree said it was tired of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine tree. The pine was troubled because it could not bear grapes like the grapevine. The grapevine was determined to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and produce fruit as large as peaches. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.
And so it went throughout the garden. Yet coming to a violet, the king found its face as bright and happy as ever and said, “Well, violet, I’m glad to find one brave little flower in the midst of this discouragement. You don’t seem to be the least bit disheartened.” The violet responded, “No, I’m not. I know I’m small, yet I thought if you wanted an oak or a pine or a peach tree or even a lilac, you would have planted one. Since I knew you wanted a violet, I’m determined to be the best little violet I can be.”
I think that’s a good reminder that each of us has a specific role to play in this world. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, we each have a unique set of skills and talents. If only we could embrace our individuality, know that we were created on purpose, and adopt the attitude of the little violet, who knows how different–and better–the world would be?
Never downplay your gifts. Somebody out there wishes they were as lucky as you.