The Grass is Always Greener ... or Is It?
- Janet Chismar Senior Editor, News & Culture
- 2003 5 May
One of the strangest juxtapositions in my life occurs every day at the office. Not only do I edit the Faith and Singles sections of Crosswalk.com, but also the Home School and Parenting pages. As a single woman, editing articles about potty training and interacting with authors who have "produced" nine kids has been an education, to say the least, and sometimes stretches me personally.
Today was one of those days.
I was reading through an article for one of our Home School newsletters and ironically, found it full of wisdom for singles. Yes! You heard me right ... singles.
The author of the article in question is Jenefer Igarashi, who works for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She and her husband have five little blessings, ages 2-13. Jenefer describes being at the grocery store, scrunched between five kids, searching for the best price on boys' underwear:
I look down and realize that my oldest son has two different shoes on -- a yellow rubber boot and a brown sandal. My youngest daughter is pulling long, stretchy, strands of gum out of her hair and sticking them to the back of her sister's shirt, who -- at the realization -- begins protesting (wide-eyed and grossed out) way too loudly. In the meantime, the wet two-year-old on my hip begins sneezing uncontrollably on account of his weird habit of winding locks of my un-brushed hair around his finger and shoving the ends up his nose. And when I look up at my oldest daughter with my much used 'could you help me, please?!!' stare, I realize that she's standing there, frozen - dead asleep - eyes open, but snoring.
"And that's when 'She' walks by. The woman with the perfect hair, with the stunning, unwrinkled (Taco-Bell-sauce-free) suit. She strolls by with an easy step without tripping over children or dragging along stragglers by the collar. She has perfect nails, matching shoes, diamond earrings, and lightly holds the keys to her two-seater BMW in her clutter-free hand. She does not have baby wipes or subtraction flash cards poking out of the top of her bag. She is not in a hurry, she is not frantically searching to get what she came for and then get out before the 'screamer' goes off. She seems so free. And on my worst days, I abandon all that I know to be true, and follow her in my mind, by jumping onto the 'What If' bus.
"I know where the 'What If' bus goes. It travels from, 'I Could Have Been' to 'If Only,' stopping just long enough to tour the supposed highlights of glamorous possibilities that were forsaken when I signed up for Christ, and then said 'I Do' to the man that my Heavenly Father brought me. The 'What If' bus takes me to prestigious colleges, to journalism school, to quiet libraries, to an exciting job in a plush office at a top-selling magazine or major newspaper in a busy high rise, or to hot, sandy beaches where my tummy isn't squishy, or 'oogelly googelly' (as my five-year-old coined it). The 'What If' bus promises to be a tantalizing tour, but when I get back from my little trip, I am irritated, impatient, discontent and sour. It always brings emptiness."
Isn't it amazing to learn that the very moms and wives we singles sometimes envy are, in turn, envying us?
I just spent the weekend with two dear single friends, discussing this very issue. Would life really be "better" and more fulfilling if we had husbands to serve and kids to love? Which brings more glory to God: writing a book or changing a diaper? Can we love God more on our own, without distraction, or with a man to lead us?
I tried to explain to one of these ladies that I have heard my married friends repeatedly express their disappointment in their husbands ... that men often can't love their wives the way the wives desire.
But she still insisted life would be incomplete without a man to hold.
Read on as Jenefer makes a profound point: "The prince of this world encourages us to covet, to become discontent, and to believe the grass is greener on the other side by using subtle strokes of 'If Only.' ... What I fail to remember, when I climb those steps onto the 'What if' bus, is that I don't know the 'ins and outs' of the lives of those women who I envision as 'free.' Are they happy? Do they lie in bed every night giggling with glee to be where they are at in life? Is their life even what I imagine it to be? Probably not."
Of course not! You and I know that. What amazes me is that there are women who think we have it better, that our lives are more interesting.
Jenefer is right. Satan has done a number on all women, leading both singles and married women to feel discontent. There are no easy answers. It's truly a case of "both/and" - we all are blessed in our own ways ... and we each have our unique pains and struggles. I guess we all just need to remember that the grass isn't greener on one side - it is green (and brown) on both sides of the fence.