Greener Grass


Will Rogers, the noted actor, humorist, newspaper columnist, American cowboy and social commentator once said: “Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.” Trust me, I know that what he says is true. Reportedly, there are people who even saw the “for sale” sign on our property and reportedly the news began to spread.


Really? How could that be true? I specifically requested that the realtor not put up a sign. After all, “What would the neighbor’s think?” Okay, I’ll answer that question. They would think we are moving? That’s why I didn’t want a sign. Maybe we are? Maybe we aren’t? I live here and I don’t know the answer to the question of whether we are moving or not. But I will hasten to say that: “If we do move, we aren’t moving far”.


I say this tongue-in-cheek: “I don’t want to give anyone false hope or un-due anxiety”. Probably, in reality, no one falls into either of those two categories, but it could happen. Actually, once the listing agent posted pictures of the property on Facebook, the veil of secrecy dissolved immediately. Of course, I’m not blaming the listing agent. He is trying to sell the property. Bottom line, that means money for both of us.


Seriously, folks have been both surprised and supportive. By my own admission, I’m surprised that we are even considering this. The General would rightly say that: “She has nothing to do with this. It was my bright idea”. In case there is any doubt, I have to confess that I’ve had a treasure chest of bright ideas across the past 49 years. I’m still waiting for most of them to materialize.


Friends have offered valuable insight and cautionary warnings. All of it has been lovingly provided without a hint of anything other than our best interest at heart. In the process of taking it all in, I thought about a story I heard long ago. It was about a man who thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. One day, the would-be seller saw an ad in the newspaper that beautifully described the kind of place he wanted to call home. He hurriedly called his agent and said: “I found it. I found exactly what I’ve been looking to find.” As it turned out, the ad was a description of the property he was selling.


Earlier this week when I looked through the 39 pictures of our home on MLS, I had the thought, “I could never afford to buy this house”. It is true, “I couldn’t”. Despite the fact that I’ve historically bought and sold houses almost as a hobby, I’ve lived with the sense that the next place would also be home. Consequently, if our house sells for the listing price, I will have to deal with the reality that at some level I have an emotional attachment to our home. For the past decade and a half, our home has been the venue for wonderfully joyful times and extremely sad times. It also has a million dollar view. Never once has there been a day that I’ve taken for granted that we live were we live.


A friend cautiously mentioned the Acre of Diamonds story about a farmer in South Africa. Perhaps you are familiar with the story. Actually, there are several variations, but Dr. Russell Conwell, the first president of Temple University in Philadelphia and the pastor of The Baptist Temple delivered an inspiring story entitled: “Acres of Diamonds.” It was one of those stories that folks never tire of hearing. In fact, Dr. Conwell reportedly delivered the story 6,152 times around the globe. Even yesterday’s reference was sent my way as a gentle reminder to think twice before I sell my home.


Earl Nightingale subsequently shared the story this way: “The Acres of Diamonds story ‘a true one’ is told of an African farmer who heard tales about other farmers who had made millions by discovering diamond mines. These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. He sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent searching unsuccessfully for the gleaming gems that brought such high prices on the markets of the world. Finally, worn out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.


Meanwhile, the man who had bought his farm happened to be crossing the small stream on the property one day, when suddenly there was a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream bottom. He bent down and picked up a stone. It was a good-sized stone, and admiring it, he brought it home and put it on his fireplace mantel as an interesting curiosity.


Several weeks later a visitor picked up the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand, and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he’d found. When the farmer said, no, that he thought it was a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer had trouble believing that. He told the man that his creek was full of such stones, not all as large as the one on the mantel, but sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.


The farm the first farmer had sold, so that he might find a diamond mine, turned out to be one of the most productive diamond mines on the entire African continent. The first farmer had owned, free and clear … acres of diamonds. But he had sold them for practically nothing, in order to look for them elsewhere. The moral is clear: If the first farmer had only taken the time to study and prepare himself to learn what diamonds looked like in their rough state, and to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true.


The thing about this story that has so profoundly affected millions of people is the idea that each of us is, at this very moment, standing in the middle of our own acres of diamonds. If we had only had the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore the work in which we’re now engaged, to explore ourselves, we would most likely find the riches we seek, whether they be financial or intangible or both.


Before you go running off to what you think are greener pastures, make sure that your own is not just as green or perhaps even greener. It has been said that if the other guy’s pasture appears to be greener than ours, it’s quite possible that it’s getting better care. Besides, while you’re looking at other pastures, other people are looking at yours”.


All My Best!



2 thoughts on “Greener Grass”

  1. Okay – you told us the story of Acres of Diamonds, but did you learn the morale of the story? You aren’t sounding very sure of yourself, yet you sold a lot of your furniture. ????


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