I recently read a modern-day parable that shook me out of a grumpy morning state.
The story goes like this:
Once, there was an old farmer. His skin was rough and creased with years of the hard work in the sun. He wore brown overalls and a worn out straw hat as his daily uniform. One morning, he looked out over his land and stood weary. Wide golden fields stretched endlessly on the left and the hills to the right rolled into the horizon. “So much property to worry about,” he mumbled.
The sounds of the clucking chickens and groaning cows started to frustrate him. So much work. The field needing tending, tormented him. He grew annoyed with the gurgling pond and the noisy geese and wild ducks that gathered there. Glancing at the old farm house, he breathed a heavy sigh. The siding was worn and the cobblestone drive needed fixing. He found that as he grew in weariness, his joy faded.
Exasperated, he grumbled to his wife, “Time to sell this place… ”
He contacted an agent and expressed his growing dissatisfaction with the farming life. They decided on a price, took photos, and the agent composed a description of the property for sale.
“Read it to me,” instructed the old farmer.
So, the agent began:
“Beautiful farm land for sale in an ideal location. Charming, turn of the century farm house with breath taking views. Wide windows, sun streaked original floors and spacious rooms. Cozy and comfortable family home. Cobble stone drive, vast wild flower gardens, and back yard swing reminds us of yesteryear. Rolling hills with ancient weeping willows and endless room to wander and enjoy creation. This property also boasts a glistening natural pond where seasonal birds gather to raise young. Wild life abounds! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to own a piece of paradise!”
The farmer’s eye brows raised and his wife gently touched his rough hand.
“Read it again,” he commanded.
After the agent had finished, he smiled a weak smile and whispered, “Never mind sir. I’ve decided not to sell. We’ve been looking for a place like that all our lives.”
I love that story.
Because so it goes
with us. We grow weary. We lose our thankfulness and soon after, we
start to lose our joy. I have a little wooden crate in our kitchen
that reads: “Gratitude Grows Joy”. It sits where I see it all
day long. Why? Because I need to remind myself of this truth daily
lose my gratitude, forfeit my joy.
Refuse to acknowledge all the ways God
has blessed and refuse to be gifted with deep joy and contentment in
all that surrounds me. Sure, the old farmer’s life wasn’t perfect.
There was noise and work and fixing to be done and repairs to be paid
for – but still, it was the life he always wanted. He just forgot.
And in the forgetting, he lost his gratitude, and his joy.
And maybe you’re not living your dream
life. Maybe things are crazy hard and when you look around, you don’t
have what you thought you’d have. Maybe things are pretty broken.
Even then, we need to give thanks anyways. We need to seek and find
things to be grateful for and plant seeds of thankfulness deep in our souls.
Because in the planting of gratitude, grows the joy.