March 13, 2008

"The View From Afar"
Just A Thought
As Spring approaches I always anxiously await for the daffodils and tulips to show their pretty heads. I know that not long after their arrival our beautiful Bradford Pear tree will be in full bloom. It was a gift from Mr. P to me and so of course, it is very special. This particular tree only blooms for about two weeks out of the year, but, oh my, it sure makes up for that short time by putting on a beautiful show!! When I'm inside the house I have to take second and every once and awhile peek out the window to admire it's beauty because I want to truly "savor" it. I know those beautiful blooms will be gone very, very soon and I want to enjoy them as much as possible.

When I'm outside my very favorite thing to do is to stand underneath the tree and peer up through the blossom laden branches and see the clear blue sky in the background ~ a masterpiece for sure! I remember the first year it bloomed Mr. P and I were both so excited to see it! We would admire it every day and comment to each other how glad we were to have it in our yard. Then one day as I was underneath the tree peering up at the blossoms I happened to notice a very peculiar odor. I couldn't imagine where in the world the odor was coming from and the strange thing was that the longer I stood in that spot the stronger that objectionable odor became. It then dawned on me that the awful odor was coming from my beautiful Bradford Pear tree! Oh, no!! I couldn't believe that something that was so beautiful could produce such a terrible odor. It got to be so bad that I couldn't even enjoy the tree up close because I couldn't stand the smell, so the only thing I could do was to enjoy it's beauty from the confines of my home.

Y'all know I do a LOT of pondering (lol) and so it occurred to me that we, as human beings, can look at others a lot like I looked at that beautiful tree. From afar we see people who we think have it "all together." To us they appear to have the perfect life. We think they have the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect children, why, we think that their life is just like Miss Mary Poppins, "Practically Perfect In Every Way!"

As we look at these so called "perfect people," we start to feel unhappy and discontented with our own lives. We want what they have. We begin to think that it's unfair we aren't as pretty as they are, that we can't have the lastest fashion styles like they do , or even drive an expensive car like theirs. We look at their husband and wish ours could be more like theirs. We think that their children, of course, never seem to misbehave, or even get dirty, as a matter of fact!! And oh, how we would love to live in their homes. Everything is beautifully decorated and nothing ever seems to be out of place, needs vacuuming. scrubbing or dusting.

You see, those people that we envy and are jealous of are just like my Bradford Pear tree. We automatically think that because a tree is beautiful it should smell beautiful, too. From afar we admire the blossoms just like we do the people. The trouble is, we are only seeing the "outside." Upon closer inspection we might find that their lives aren't as wonderful as we thought. We are only getting a small glimpse and so, therefore we assume everything is perfect and wonderful. Maybe if we were to look closer we would see things differently.

Behind the smile there might be much pain and sorrow. The beautiful clothes they are wearing are bought with credit cards that have been maxed out. The husband that we think of as perfect might have cheated on his wife, or even abused her. The children might behave in public when we see them, but when they get home their mouths might be full of obscenities and disrespect towards their parents. And that house we thought was perfect is just that, a house, NOT a HOME. And speaking of that beautiful house, the couple is in way over their heads and can't even figure out how they will manage to pay their mortgage next month. They spend many sleepless nights worrying over the seemingly never-ending debt. The walls of the house might be beautiful, but the people inside those walls are miserable.

So, if we were to really look closely at their life, beyond those beautiful blossoms, we might find that things aren't really perfect after all. Just as the Bradford Pear, you might even say that their lives, to put it bluntly,"stink." Just as we can't judge a book by it's cover, neither can we judge a person life from afar, or expect a tree to smell beautiful just because it is. This is exactly why I'm going to always try to focus and appreciate what I DO have and what I AM blessed with. I will keep my eyes on Him, and try very hard not to covet what others have. When I can do this, that foul odor will be replaced with the sweetest smelling perfume I could ever imagine! It's called contentment and gratitude.


Michelle said...

What a beautiful post, Susan...very thought provoking and oh so true. Thanks for the reminder to do our very best to live in contentment, which brings TRUE happiness and peace :)

Have a wonderful day!

thehomespunheart said...

Excellent post! Thank you for the great reminder and beautiful word pictures! Have a great weekend!

Katie said...

Wonderful post Susan! I hadn't stopped by in a while, and I have to say I love the blog banner you have! So springy! :-)

I was just thinking some similar thoughts recently and discussed this with my husband. Praise God He teaches each one of us little by little to be content with what we have and how we can make the most of it...just like you did with this post! :-) Thank you!


Anonymous said...

I really needed to read this today. After writing out checks for others that was much more than I make I was feeling quite dissatisfied. Thanks for the reminder.


Mrs. C said...

Fantastic thoughts, Susan! I don't think I'll ever look at our pear trees in quite the same way again. :)

Akinogal said...
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Smartphone said...
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Pam said...

Thank you for the lovely words and the reminder to keep a thankful heart. It was exactly what I needed this morning.
Have a wonderful week-

ceekay said...

Love you blog. Left a message on one of your January posts. Will check in with you again. Come and visit my blog sometime. I am a newbie at this, but you are welcome.

The Liberty Belle said...

I discovered your blog through a link on The Homespun Heart blog-site. I'm glad to have found you! Good post.

Sharon said...

This is a wonderful post!! I finally experienced that place of contentment in my life a few years ago and oh what a relief! I won't say that I never have to work at it sometimes, but it is a refreshing and peaceful place to be...contentment.

Sandy said...

Hi Susan. Excellent post!! I like the last line ... contentment and gratitude!
Admiration can be a dangerous thing.
Thanks for sharing this!

Mrs. U said...

Amen, Susan!! You are right- KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS!!!! My oh my... when I remember to do that and get to my eyes off myself... well, I am so much more JOYFUL!!!!

Thank you SO much for sharing this!

Mrs. U

Kelli said...

Beautiful post, Susan! May you and your family have a blessed Easter!

Gardagami said...
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Mindy said...

Love your post Susan!! Wishing you and your family a peaceful Resurrection Sunday!!

Lallee said...

Beautifully written, Susan.