GEOGRAPHY CAN'T SATISFY THE SOUL
Several times this week I've had someone tell me about a person who longs for different surroundings. They think that if they change their environment their lives will magically get better. They're tired of small town life. They want to change schools. They want to live in a different state. Pennsylvania stinks! They want to go where the weather is more pleasant. They're convinced that their unhappines is the result of geography.
I remember thinking the same thing in my twenties. And I moved all the way to Florida to find that magic remedy for an unhappy life. The funny thing was I was even more miserable after a few weeks in Florida. There was no magic. I took all my problems with me.
Sooner or later we learn that it doesn't matter where we go, life is the same everywhere. People are pretty much the same. You have your mix of good and bad everywhere. You still have hassles and disappointments no matter where you live. The problems might be different, but they're still a part of life. A change of location doesn't really change anything but your location.
When we're unhappy, what we need to change is ourselves and the things we are doing or not doing to bring satisfaction to our lives. About a year ago I decided that I needed more friends, not just acquaintances, but real sincere and caring friends. So I started what I call a "circle of friends" monthly get together. Every month, six of us meet at a different woman's house for a casual meal and a night of chatter and laughter.
This month it will be almost a year since we started our gatherings, and it's become obvious that I'm not the only one who's enjoying the idea. I was hesitant to have that first dinner and ask the ladies if they wanted to continue meeting. But I took a leap of faith and went ahead and did it, and the result has been such a joy to all of us. I'm convinced that one of the biggest sources of depression is lack of true friendship, the kind of friendships that allow us to share our deepest selves without fear or judgement.
I heard someone call it "restless soul syndrome," that unhappy stirring in our hearts that makes us want to run to a place where everything will magically get better. But if the emptiness is within ourselves, don't we take ourselves everywhere we go?
Sometimes it's a lack of friends, sometimes it's a thirst for God; we all have an empty place that geography can't fill. When we start filling the emptiness with the people and things that truly bring fulfillment, then we stop caring about geography. We're happy to be anywhere because we're happy with ourselves and the life we're living.