I was appalled when I first looked at our current rental. We had just sold our home (with gardens front and back that I had designed) and we needed to find a place to live. The rental market was tight and options were few.
I grudgingly agreed with my husband that this small town home was the best choice. It was close to town, we could walk there. It was nearly next to the post office. It had no maintenance and it was affordable. What’s not to love?
I didn’t love this view:
Everywhere I looked there was a building, a window or cement. Me, a garden book author, was living in cement gardens. There was no patch of earth I could garden in. (Any landscaping you see is property of the association and is off limits).
As I looked out in despair at our new surroundings I wondered what our eight year old boy would think. He loved running around our formerly large yard with his friends shooting water pistols at each other. Our long driveway was the scene of many happy hours of ramps, constructed ride-on vehicles and rollerblading madness. How would he adjust?
He looked out the window at this ocean of cement and said, “COOL! This is rollerblading heaven!”
It’s all a matter of perspective.
I can look at the same view and think, “I used to look out over 400 acres of open space, now my view is what the neighbors are cooking and when they drive out of their garages.” Or, I could think, “This is writing heaven.” No yard to keep up! No home maintenance! A smaller home is quicker and easier to clean!
I can focus on what I had, what I think I deserve, what I dream for, or focus on the possibilities of what is actually in front of me. In my book, Gardening Mercies I noted a favorite quotation I use to reorient my satisfaction compass. “I try to enjoy life the way it is, because that’s the way it’s going to be anyway!”
The book of Proverbs promises that trusting in God and His plans for us gives us peace and purpose. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Pro 3: 5-8).
I have peace when I turn away from what I think is the best plan for my life, my fantasies for what should be happening and embrace the view of what is. Then I’m open to God’s design for me: a life of purpose with straight paths and a nourished heart and body. That’s a beautiful view no matter what your circumstances.