When I was 12 years old, we moved to a far away place called Horseshoe Bend. It was a beautiful place, especially after living beside the highway for four years. The view of nothing but cars and trucks going back and forth, like a row of ants going to and fro, got old after the first day. But now we were in a new place. A magical place. A place that reminded me of the old west I had seen on T.V. shows. Fields and pastures with cows and horses. Creeks and springs, hills and valleys and a river where we could fish and swim. Like I said, a beautiful place.
I remember exploring as much of it as I could immediately, but my Grandmother, being the great parent she was, had some concerns. There were snakes and other critters to watch out for and she was worried about us being around a lot of water. She loved us, and she wanted us to be safe, so we had time limits on how long we could be gone from home. We didn’t have cell phones then and who knows what could happen in a place like that? So, she said I needed to check in every hour so she wouldn’t worry.
One day I was down by the river and I found an open space in the woods, with a mixture of green grass, wild flowers, and brown weeds that was totally different from any of the other places I had seen around the river. It wasn’t actually beautiful like a flower garden, but it was very interesting. I was so amazed that God would put that spot of mixed grass there in the middle of the woods. I visited that place time and time again. There was just something about it that kept drawing me back.
Over the weeks I had noticed something else very interesting. Across the river, in the same spot on the other side, there was a spot without trees that looked quite similar to the spot where I was standing and was even the same shape and size. There was a difference though. It looked greener and thicker than the spot on the side where I was.
I had to go there. I just had to. The desire was so strong that, if I had known how to swim then I might have jumped in the water and tried to make it to the other side. But I used my common sense and resisted the temptation.
I formulated a plan, and the next day I put it into action. I had one hour. I knew there was a bridge down the river because we had crossed it several times going to my Uncle’s house. So I said goodbye to my Grandmother and comely walked toward the field that led to the wood line by the river. Then as soon as I was out of sight I ran as fast as I could for as long as I could. I had to make it to that bridge as soon as possible.
To make a long story short, I crossed the bridge and headed back up the river to find that beautiful oasis in the woods. My hour was pretty much up when I arrived so I didn’t get to spend much time there. But, that wasn’t the most disappointing part. It wasn’t as beautiful and green as it appeared when I had seen it from the other side. Now it looked exactly like the spot I had viewed it from.
When I think about that experience, that old saying comes to mind; “The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side.” I can testify that it is not! I know that phrase is usually spoken sarcastically, and I wish I could say I learned a lesson that day, but I can’t.
I was raised going to church and reading the Bible. I was taught to do right and avoid “sinful pleasures,” but when I was sixteen I left home and went to the “other side.” After about three years of “sinful pleasure,” I realized the grass is NOT always greener on the other side. That’s when I truly realized what a sinner I was and how much I needed a savior.
It’s sad that humans can’t learn from the mistakes of others or the wisdom of those who warn us of things to avoid. It’s sad that we have to be in the mud with the pigs to see how much better it is to be clean, but I guess that’s just human nature. So when you look at something and think it looks better than where you are now, don’t be so quick to go after it. Investigate first. Pray and see what God says, and remember, the grass is NOT always greener on the other side.
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