Wednesday Word: The Heresy of Elsewhere
I was scrolling through social media this week and came across a quote or meme or something like that which I can't quite remember and have been unable to find again (don't you hate that?). If memory serves, it said something like, “One of the greatest heresies is the heresy of elsewhere – If only I were in that other job, if only I were in a different relationship, if only I lived elsewhere, things would be better.”
This is really just new wording of other sayings, such as, “Bloom where you're planted,” or, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
Of course, not all sayings are 100 percent accurate or take into account all situations. For instance, I would never advise someone to stay in an abusive relationship by telling them to bloom where they're planted. There are times when the grass is, indeed, greener on the other side.
But under normal circumstances, I think this saying holds true. There are times when we become so focused on the elsewhere that we cease to be productive, helpful, or even functioning in where we are now. “Don't be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good,” comes to mind. We need to recognize when we are being tempted by the fantasy of elsewhere and call to mind why we might be here in the first place and the good of both the place and our being here.
I might be thinking about this because of a conversation I had yesterday with our organist, Mark King. He and I meet every Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, but primarily to lay out plans for upcoming worship services. And it was in yesterday's meeting that he pointed out that November 1, this coming Sunday, All Saints', will be my fourth anniversary as rector of this parish. Somewhere in there he asked me how it was going and I said, “Other than when the Seahawks start playing at 8:20, or when the WSU Cougars kick off at 7:30 pacific time, things are good.”
My family and I are not from here. We are, at heart, Pacific Northwesterners. But this is where we believe God called us to be. This is where we have been planted and this is where we are blooming. This is where the grass is greenest. And in these past four years I have never wished to be elsewhere.
Things aren't perfect here, but then neither was creation. But like God said of creation on the last day, it is very good.
Thank you to each of you for helping me avoid the heresy of elsewhere.