... in escaping to the country
Build a New Life in the Country, Escape to the Country, or even head for A Place in the Sun: I often find that the TV listings seem to advocate fleeing to some rural idyll or sun-drenched utopia as the only way of making sense out of life and existence.
We all, at some time or other, hanker after a quieter life far from the madding crowd, and the reason I and so many others watch these programmes is because they tap into that discontent bubbling under the surface of contemporary life.
And so I indulge my flimsy fantasies of a life less complicated and after an hour or so my hopes are restored and I can step back on to the daily treadmill again, reinvigorated with thoughts that it does not always have to be like this. I, too, can escape!
But such thoughts are no more than flights of fancy. I cannot ‘escape’ to the country and the temptation to do so reminds me, paradoxically, that I do not need to: meaning and purpose are to be found in the ordinary, in the small things of life. And so when the latest property expert tells me that happiness is to be found ‘anywhere but here’, I say a prayer of thanksgiving that the opposite is true: that God is to be found everywhere, including here.