On Saturday we left the house only once, to go to my daughters soccer game. It had already been a long day. My son was sick and we were all feeling restless. I was tired, worried, and feeling a little sorry for myself.
I carried all the chairs and gear out onto the field and got everyone settled. I felt alone. For some reason it feels like all the other parents are happy couples sitting on the sidelines; I am by myself. While I watch the game I overhear a conversation between two other couples. They are discussing which golf courses they really like, and what country club they and their friends belong to.
I wish I hadn’t heard it. I can’t help it. I immediately feel myself compare my life to theirs. Right now my concerns are far removed from golf course greens. There is nothing wrong with their discussion, their life, their interests.
Intellectually, I know that this is wasted energy. I know that just because I perceive everything is great in their life, doesn’t mean it is. I know that compared to most of the rest of the world, my circumstances, possessions, house, and troubles are all great ones to have. I know this. Still, I feel the comparison.
It happens when I look through Facebook.
It happens when I visit someone else’s home, or hear about their new job, their healed marriage, their perfect kids.
Today I came across this blog post today on Ann Voskamp’s website. It really spoke to me. Please take a moment to read it:
It is a guest post by Sandra Byrd. She talks about how she went through a difficult season of looking for a new job, and during that time her close friend found one instead. She explains the mixed feelings she had; happiness for her friend, and sadness for herself. Then, years later, she was walking through a good season of her life, and her friend’s marriage fell apart. Their seasons of hardship reversed, and they still walked along side each other through it all.
I can really relate to this story. In seasons where things seemed to be going mostly my way, I can remember looking at other people’s struggles and being grateful that I wasn’t going through the same struggles. Then, seasons change, and my own life takes a difficult turn.
At the end of the post she spells it out.
“We each encounter all four seasons — just not at the same time.
And then I understood, and understanding made all the difference.
My summer circumstances often coincide with a stark time in a friend’s life.
My task, my pleasure, my privilege, is to share my sun and give her the warmth she needs.
She’ll do it for me, later, when my winter blows in and ices my world—for a season—just before spring arrives again.
This way, we’re always dividing the grief and sharing the joy — together. “
– Sandra Byrd
Yes. SO many of my friends and family have shared their sun, and I have shared mine.
The point is not to compare. The point is to show up for each other, to share the joys and the griefs. I like it. I like it a lot.
That is exactly what I needed to hear today.