Chasing the Avocado

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Happiness is a ripe avocado. If you have ever lived in California, you know this to be true.

My daughter, six months young, is learning all about this magical fruit’s elusivity, as she cannot yet grasp avocado between her lusting fingers. Perhaps it is because she is mine or because her blue eyes penetrate my soul, but I find few things more mesmerizing than watching my daughter’s hands seek the promise of satiety.

If we are honest, I think we are all chasing an avocado dream that feels just within reach. There is that one job, that one opportunity for our children, that one possession that will leave us content and happy with our lives. For many of us, we have been so blinded by our pursuit of some academic, financial, or personal goal that the journey has become a mere blur – and, so too, have the people.

Our kids, of course, stand ready to anchor us with humility when our feet (and our egos) leave the ground.

Recently, I was forced to face my latest “magic bullet” battle: the perfect education for our son. Yes, my son is two-and-a-half-years-old, but when both parents are college educators there is no easy path to schooling contentment. It just doesn’t exist.

I prayed for discernment. I tried to undo the “undesirables” my son was bringing home from preschool. I distracted myself with work. But the truth is, satisfaction, at least the kind after which I have been running, cannot ever be held with two hands. And the things we pursue only serve to tire, bewilder, and convict us.

So how did I resolve my heightened concern and emotions? How did I find peace? How did I achieve contentment? I let go of my desire to control everything and trusted that good, informed decisions will lead to manageable outcomes. The systems upon which we rely as parents, be they educational or otherwise, are so incredibly complex, that we have to trust that someone, somewhere is doing the right thing – even if that someone is not us.

When you stand before a ripe avocado with knife in hand, there is hope and excitement in that moment. And, just as with children, you cannot fully anticipate what you will find just beneath the surface.

I think the avocado will always taste better in our dreams. And sometimes it takes the tiniest of hands to remind us that satisfaction is not a destination but one of many choices we make along the way.

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