A few years back, I took my 4 year old daughter and 18 month old son to the splash pad.
We often value what we already have- even it it isn’t great.
While I was lathering my daughter in sunscreen, my son happily played in a muddy puddle underneath a drinking fountain. When I was finished, I called my son to go towards the waterpark just behind the building. He screamed, threw his body on the floor, refusing to leave that nasty muddy puddle. It was so frustrating (and slightly amusing) watching him melt down over leaving the filth even though there was a brightly coloured water playground full of squirt guns, slides, and tunnels just out of sight.
We don’t trust what we cannot see.
I reflect on this scene in my own life frequently. What things do I hold onto so tightly that I miss the splash park because I’ve settled for the puddle? I wonder what adventures I might experience if I would be willing to give up what was in front of me for something I could only hope for around the corner.
If you risk nothing, you risk everything.
Giving up the known to pursue the unknown requires a great deal of trust, faith and hope.
My son at that moment didn’t trust that I had good things in store for him. That the promise of a waterpark really would materialise. I think my relationship with God can be like that at times. I refuse to give up what I know- refuse to trust that what is around the corner is better (or could be better) than what I have now.
Taking risks gets easier each time.
Faith is like a muscle. It takes practices- the more waterparks you experience, the more likely you are to give up the puddle. Humans thrive on minimising risk and maximising a sense of control. People often say “better the devil you know,” but what if familiarity breeds stagnation that prevented you from huge reward?
Went wrong? Let it Go (again).
Any kids addicted to Frozen? Mine were. If something doesn’t work out, just keep letting it go. There aren’t any guarantees in life, unfortunately. Sometimes you give up a puddle you are content in for another puddle. Keep striving and looking for opportunities. They will come.
Somedays, you look for a shell . . .
But you get seaweed instead.
Somedays a great day at the pond gives you more than a great tan.
You leave with a rash and body aches because the green algae level is high.
Somedays you end up in that muddy puddle with no spare clothes.
But on the day you get the splash park, it is all worth it.
Below are some of those days.
Trading Puddles for Splash Pads
Trading Hobbies for a Job. In highschool, I gave up dance to get a job. I was devastated initially. The job I found truly grew my character and professional skills more than anything I could have imagined. I bought a car my senior year then was able to pay for undergrad and graduate school, and upgrade the car. I graduated totally debt free with amazing experience working with people.
Swapping Unhealthy Relationships. During University, I gave up a close friend who started mixing with bad company. We spent most of our time together- but the path she went down was one of partying and drugs. Meanwhile, I got accepted into graduate school and found a passion in occupational therapy. I had space in my life for meaningful, healthy relationships that would not have come if I had continued hanging out in this puddle.
Putting Family First. When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I put down my career to raise my babies. I LOVE my career. When I handed my notice in, I had no idea that the most amazing opportunity would open up allowing me to never leave my kids in childcare, make a lot more money than before, and minimise the things I didn’t like about my job. I had ultimate flexibility in the field I loved and honoured my first commitment to my family.
International Move. My husband approached me about moving to the UK in 2013. I struggled. Giving up that amazing job, those great contacts, our home, the cars, our friends was a lot to put down to move to a place with a lot different cost and quality of living. Starting over? Sounded and IS exhausting, but so are splash parks! #worthit
I can’t imagine having not come on this adventure to England- the people I’ve met, the culture I’ve encountered, and the memories we have built are life shaping.
I have more splash parks and puddles around the corner. Will I let go? Do I trust the voice calling me around the corner?
Are you holding onto an unhealthy addiction? A sense of shame? A job that doesn’t feel right? Are you in a relationship that you have settled for? Have you been given an opportunity to travel? Branch out? Could you introduce yourself to someone new?
It’s not that the grass is greener all the time, but knowing when to move onto a new field is part of maturing, part of a full life. Life is short.
I’ll meet you at the splash park.