Jesus Follower | Word Stringer | Avocado Eater

Your Grass Looks Greener

 

Two Moms, Two Letters, Two Countries

 

Dear Missionary Mom,

I see you down here, with your hair pulled up and your patience falling down. Doin’ that missionary thing can drain, I know.

It all looked so quaint from a distance, didn’t it? Needy people, corner sweet bread shops, hammocks in palms. Did you move for the life the promo video promised?

I’m glad I’ve been your neighbor.

Living in Baja has felt attractive, mostly. It’s been a place where those old roots I planted could get some fresh air and be replanted. Our kids probably won’t be graduating with yours though.

 

 

We’re all scattered around and therefore haven’t roped off the road or rolled our barbecues through the mud. Our neighbors look nothing like us, though we do throw our heads back at times and agree, “This feels so much better than the cities we came from!”

When the newness wore off and your new normal sunk in, did life look strange? Not necessarily in a bad way… just different. You thought there would be more calls, emails, visits.

Unbelievable how every. single. day. can be so different than the last, right? Do you moan at the roosters and do the dry eye blink… blink… blink?

Pour the coffee, switch to Spanish, creak the back door, walk with the neighbor, hang your laundry, trade pesos for fresh cilantro, clean out the coop and walk through your day assuming tomorrow will no doubt hold more change?

You might roll your eyes like an Olympian when you think about your inconsistent life. Constantly adapting, maybe. Lacking, no. Is adaptation a state of mind? Lacking can be, I think.

Friends are calling, strangers are asking, neighbors are yelling.

“Loan me something, por favor?”

“Give me something, por favor?”

“Sorry we didn’t think to invite y’all. You speak Spanish, right?”

Right.

You sit on your stump/mat/roof/stool looking happy to be here. And most of the time you are! But those other 41 Saturdays? The ones where you dream of gardening away from burning trash, buying 12,000 liters of water from someone besides drunk Keko, sinking into your favorite cushy part of el sofá, reading the book with the dust rectangle on your night stand, and hearing something besides mariachi?

I hear ya.

 

 

You never thought it would be possible to sit in a crowded, Spanish-speaking church and feel lonely, but here you go again. Flashing ‘thumbs up’ to the tyke on your man’s lap, your kid down the row, tween on the imaginary drums, teen in the sound booth.

They’re doing so well and loving their lives. So you give them your best hours, focusing on their current mud pie, trying your darnedest to only glance at your device when they’ve turned their backs, wondering if the fairies have gotten to your tile baseboards yet.

Don’t you love our neighborhoods of dirt and palms? So fun for our kids; we don’t ever have to sweep our driveways! Seriously—we have push-brooms for why? Oh, yes… the tile.

We’re not what you’d call covetous of North Americans; that wouldn’t be missionary of us. Not even jealous, for that screams discontent. More like slightly envious. Yes, that passes Christian muster.

But… apparently I’ll be leaving you this summer. This is only the third time I’ve written such words in that order, so give me a minute. Thought I’d be here for infinity and beyond, ya know.

Well, at least until we all got ushered into celestial glory singing “Cuan Grande Es Dios” in perfect harmony.

And not in English.

Duh.

But my timeline? My plan? My assumptions? They included this address. The one my husband made up because our lot didn’t have one? The one most people can find on Google maps but are too chicken nervous to visit? Yeah—that one.

Don’t feel sorry for me though. I am very aware that God is the One changing my course to leave yours. It’s not my first choice, but I don’t fight it, for I continually learn a bit more about the beauty of trust.

And yes, I will forever carry our shared “flexico” in my lexicon while I think of you and all you encounter. Keep on keepin’ on, Missionary Mom.

When I get to wherever I’m going, please know I’ll miss having my roots next to yours. Though this time they will sit loosely—happy to grow but ready to go.

Hasta pronto,

Carrie

 


 

Dear Suburbia Mom,

I see you over there, with your hair pulled up and your patience falling down. Doin’ that suburbia thing can drain, I know.

 

 

It all looked so quaint from a distance, didn’t it? Master-planned communities, matching driveways, shiny neighborhood mailboxes. Did you move for the life the billboard promised?

I kind of wish I were your neighbor again.

Your consistent life looks attractive, mostly. A place where those roots I’ve dreamed of can finally grow down while our kids have friends to grow up with. Where we cone off the smooth street, roll out barbecues and join all the neighbors who look like us. We could throw our heads back and wholeheartedly agree, “This feels so much better than the cities we came from!”

When the newness wore off and your new normal sunk in, did life look strange? Not necessarily in a bad way… just different. You thought there would be less calls, texts, distractions.

Unbelievable how every. single. day. can be so similar to the last, right? Do you moan at the alarm and do the dry eye blink… blink… blink?

Click the coffee, shower the brain fog, pack the lunch, increase your speed, add scoops of whatever, engage your frontal lobe, command the garage door, fly the coop and race through your afternoon assuming tomorrow will no doubt hold nothing new?

You might roll your eyes like an Olympian when you think about your Groundhog Day life. Boring, maybe. Lacking, no. I’ve heard boring is a state of mind. Lacking can be, too, I think.

Gymnastics is calling, lacrosse is honking, soccer is yelling.

“Join me, join me!”

“Play me, play me!”

“Sorry we sucked your weekend dry. You have time though, right?”

Riiiiight.

You sit on the mat/field/court/deck looking happy to be there. And most of the time you are! But those other 41 Saturdays? The ones where you dream of pushing some flowers into fresh dirt, sinking into your favorite cushy part of the couch, reading the book with the dust rectangle on your night stand, and hearing something besides traffic?

I hear ya.

You never thought it would be possible to sit on a crowded bleacher full of English-speakers and feel lonely, but here you go again. Flashing thumbs up to your tyke on the mat, kid on the field, tween on the court, teen in the pool.

They’re doing so well and loving their lives. So you give them your best hours, focusing on their current activity, trying your darnedest to only glance at your device when they’ve turned their backs, wondering if the fairies have gotten to your smooth baseboards yet.

Your whole neighborhood is concrete and grass, yes? So fun for your kids; you don’t ever have to deal with mud! Seriously—you wash your car for why? Oh, yes… the dust.

 

 

I’m not what you’d call covetous; that wouldn’t be missionary of me. Not even jealous, for such a word screams discontent. More like slightly envious. Yes, that passes Christian muster.

But… apparently I’ll be joining you this summer. This is only the fourth time I’ve written such words in that order, so give me a minute. Thought I’d be here for infinity and beyond, ya know.

Well, at least until we all got ushered into celestial glory singing “How Great Is Our God” in perfect harmony.

And in Español.

Duh.

But my timeline? My plan? My assumptions? They didn’t include your zip code. The one most people can find on Google maps and are so thrilled to visit? Yeah—that one.

Don’t feel sorry for me though. I am very aware that God is the One changing my course to intersect yours once again. It’s not my first choice, but I don’t fight it, for I continually learn a bit more about the beauty of trust.

And yes, I’m bringing the art of being flexible in Mexico with me. “Flexico” will forever be part of my lexicon while I transition back to your world and all you encounter. Keep on keepin’ on, Suburbia Mom.

When I get to wherever I’m going, please know I’ll be happy to sink my roots next to yours. Though this time they will sit loosely—happy to grow but ready to go.

 

See ya soon,

Carrie

 

“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7, NLT (emphasis mine)

 

What do your roots look like these days? New and movable? Established and permanent?

 

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8 Responses to Your Grass Looks Greener

  1. There is no greater ignorance than the dogma of the untraveled. Wherever you go, you will leave blessings of your goodness behind and bring a wealth of experience to your new abode. It is not a zero sum game. You’re winning! Carry on, Carrie!

    All the best!

    • Thank you, Dana. This is much better than the advice I heard in high school: “Wherever you go, there you are.” I appreciate your words!

  2. I love your style and the humor in your writing. I agree with Jeanette–“uber-creative and authentic” creates an engaging read. So many times in my own life flashed through my mind as I read this blog causing me to smile and roll my eyes at my naivete.

    Forty-five years ago, Jim and I built our dream house in the Santa Cruz hills in the lovely community of Ben Lomond. It was the dream house we were going to live and die in. We had sunk our roots, but God had a different idea. After only 7 years, He moved us to a different “pasture”, one I thought was not as green. I cried for 6 months convinced that we had misread God’s plan. Fast forward MANY years.

    When it came about that both our grown children and their families lived in the same town in AZ, people on both sides of the fence were encouraging us to move to be with them. We realized two things–we can’t follow our children around the world, and God isn’t finished with us where he planted us in Visalia. It seems that all of our moves have called into question “greener pastures.” This time we were more secure in God’s wisdom.

    There was also a time until fairly recently that I said we would live and die in our current home, our second and final dream home. Then I realized that God might have different plans and that I need to remain open to those.

    We tend to see things from where we are right now, but as I age, I realize that things have to change. I find I can no longer do things the same way I used to as my body tires and wears out. I guess I thought nothing would change as I age. Boy! have I had to rethink that!

    But I have learned to be content and remain ready to change courses when God requires it.

    Blessings as you move through the seasons of your life.

    • Wow–so many great points in this, Sherry! Thank you for taking the time to write out some of your experiences and lessons. I hope I can remember them as we shift and move through our next transition. Your point about remaining open to God’s plans is what I continue to remind myself about. Thanks for your kind words about my writing, too!

  3. I can feel your aching and anticipatory heart in the words of this uber-creative and authentic post, Carrie. I don’t know where you are heading, but I’d be happy to be your neighbor, regardless of the locale. Looking forward to what this new season brings, and what God has planned for you and yours.

    • I don’t know where we’re heading either, but thank you for your encouragement, Jeanette. It was a fun post to write!

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