What is left is mud. And dirt. The in-between season. Between the harsh grip of winter, and air so cold it brings a cough, and the gentle cool mornings that encourage us to linger. Between those two exists the mud season. Crisp, cold mornings that promise a gradual warming. Mud begins as frozen, inconsequential, until it becomes pliable with the warmth of the sun. And as it thaws, it sticks and stains and follows us into our homes and into our cars and sticks to our dogs as we take them out to run in the newly emergent landscape.
The between season is a time of great hope. I hope spring comes quickly. I hope my bulbs will bud. I hope it gets warmer. We know the spring is coming, during mud season, but we wish away what is, in hopes of something better to come.
Often in our lives, we miss enjoying where we are, in hopes of something better. We put off enjoyment of a middle school concert by hoping that they will play better in high school. We wish our kids would hurry up and get to the next stage. We put off enjoying the present moment, in hopes of better things to come.
Today, I'd like to encourage you that today is the perfect day to enjoy being exactly where you are. You don't have to wait until you get married. You don't have to wait until you get your degree. You don't have to wait until the kids grow up, or you get a better job, or you lose ten pounds. You can be happy now, even in mud season.
All winter long, people complain, wishing away the beauty of a cold, crisp morning when the cold crystallizes the air, turning it into a million diamonds. Then, when the cold gives in and the sun takes over, they miss the beauty of mud season, wishing instead that summer would get here already. And when oppressive heat beats down on dry fields, do people stop to luxuriate in the warmth? No. They wish it would be fall, so the air would cool down.
There's an often told story of wealthy Persian named Al Hafed. He owned a very large farm with orchards, grain fields, and gardens. He was content and wealthy. One day Al Hafed heard about diamonds, and how much they are worth, and he went to bed that night a much poorer man, because he had grown discontent with what he had. He wanted a mine of diamonds. He lay awake all night, mourning the fact that he did not have diamonds.
By morning, Al Hafed made a decision. He sold his property, his acres of beautifully cultivated land and traveled the world in search of the elusive mine of diamonds. He spent his fortune, searching endlessly, for diamonds. Al Hafed spent years, and all his wealth, searching in vain for the riches he desired, until at last, impoverished he cast himself into the sea, and was never seen again.
The story does not end there, however. The man who purchased Al Hafed's property was quite content with the gardens, the orchards and the fields. He loved the property, and cared for it. And one day, in a stream on the property, he saw a glimmer. Upon inspecting the glimmer, this already content man discovered a large diamond. And as he searched, he discovered more diamonds. One of the largest diamond mines ever uncovered emerged from that property, the diamond mines of Golconda.
The story has a moral, of course, as all good stories do.
Do not waste your life, discontent, searching endlessly for riches. Look instead into your own backyard. When you look with new eyes, upon your family, your home, your job, your friends, your town, you will discover that you too, possess acres of diamonds.
No. We will not all be wealthy. We will not all discover literal diamonds. But the true moral is that when we are content, then we are truly rich. We all have a choice every day, to celebrate the diamonds in our lives, no matter how rough, or to search in vain for treasure outside.
I urge you my friends, to appreciate the gifts you have been granted. In the process, you will discover so much more.