I just finished reading The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Not my favorite Sparks novel, but still an excellent read – and I might have cried at the end. I won’t ruin it for you, but I do want to share a powerful takeaway from the book that has left me thinking for days.
Amanda, the female protagonist, is visiting her hometown for a funeral. Her mother, Evelyn, can tell Amanda is having marital problems, but doesn’t have the relationship with Amanda to discuss it. The following passage is Evelyn’s internal response to her growing suspicions:
If Amanda had asked, Evelyn would have admitted that, and she also would have reminded her daughter in the same breath that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. What the younger generation didn’t understand was that the grass was greenest where it’s watered, which meant that both Frank and Amanda had to get out their hoses if they wanted to make things better. But Amanda hadn’t asked.
Evelyn Collier – The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks
Fiction books rarely possess the kind of candor that cuts to the heart of a reader speaking truth into life (those types of experiences usually happen between me and a self-help book), but here in the pages of a romance novel is a truth too profound to overlook.
It is so easy to play the-grass-is-always-greener comparison game. I’m not just talking Evelyn’s musings on marriage and husbands. I’m talking the I-wish-we-had-the-money-for-fill-in-the-blank and the why-can’t-I-look-like-that-mom-in-those-clothes type of comparisons. I’m sure you can relate.
It’s painstakingly easy to fall into the discontentment trap of life and yet the hand up is often easier to grasp than we think. Green grass doesn’t magically appear because you want it really bad. It comes by rolling up your sleeves, pulling out the hose, and spraying your lawn with water every day.
We’ve had some really exciting days in the last couple of weeks and we’ve had some disappointing ones as well. I’ve spent my share of moments wishing for things to be different, looking at everyone else and wanting the apparent ease with which they live their lives . . . but that’s just me gawking at the neighbors grass.
Sure there are things in my life I have no control over, but I would get so much farther with the ones I do if I just stopped gawking and picked up a hose.
Where in life do you need to water?