At a park in Florida her high pitched British accent rang out from the swing set and across the whole playground like the loud echo of an annoyed macaw in the jungle. My jet lagged toddler’s high volume and foreign accent betrayed her American mother’s longing to just blend in and be left alone in her own hometown. Another mother near the slide heard the toddler’s caw and wandered over. I thought I knew the well versed conversation that waited for me. Then the women whispered words who’s roots shined a light into my own heart and choices for years to come. She looked at our daughter’s floral dress and quietly said, “you can’t find clothes like that here, European clothes are so much nicer than anything you’ll find here.” She looked at my daughter’s floral dress with a lifetime of assured and well designed deep discontent. Like me she had been raised on a familiar steady diet of being told that the grass was greener somewhere else, more often than not somewhere European. The dresses were prettier somewhere else. The mothers do it better somewhere else. The houses are nicer somewhere else. The food is more pure and delicious somewhere else. The deep discontent hollowed out by billion dollar industries banking on her doing exactly what she did. Looking with blind discontent, unable to see into the life of things. She heard an accent and saw a dress. She concluded that her life wasn’t as good and that the clothes on her own toddlers back weren’t as nice. We think we can see into the life of things as images from our screens and glossy magazines roll down our eyes and through our souls like waterfalls. We are drenched in the deafening images from industries built on our all consuming assured discontent. Ironically we consume to deafen the noise of that well designed water fall. It took moving to another country to understand that ‘somewhere else’ only exists in my mind. I hope it won’t take leaping across an ocean for you to step out from under the waterfall and realize that you are standing knee deep in something beautiful, the beauty of your own life. The calm waters of an authentic life are still, clear and deep. And that floral dress the mother at the park thought was ‘European’, it was from the clearance rack at Target. Happy Tuesday from our home to yours.
‘If I ever go looking for my hearts desire again, I won’t go looking any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.’ – The Wizard of Oz