“Wow… look at her marriage. They seem to have it so together.”
“She eats whatever she wants and never gains an ounce. Must be nice.”
“Her outfits always look so snappy while I have a serious case of the frump.”
“I wish I had her job- her smarts- her income. Sigh.”
Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someone else’s circumstances, I often remind myself out loud, “I am not equipped to handle what they have—both good and bad.”
When I want the good things someone has, I must realize that I’m also asking for the bad that comes along with it. It’s always a package deal. And usually if I just give a situation enough time to unfold, I thank God I didn’t get someone else’s package.
One of the first times I came to understand this truth was in middle school when I met a beautiful girl at the children’s theater in my town. We were both budding child actors cast in a Christmas play. During rehearsals I remember feeling envious that her long dancer’s legs could move in ways my stubby limbs never would. Her legs were muscular and lean and graceful; mine couldn’t be described with any of those adjectives.
One day she felt an unusual pain in her left leg. A doctor’s appointment turned into a battery of tests that turned into a hospital stay that turned into a diagnosis. Cancer. A surgery to remove a tumor turned into an amputation turned into a complete life change. Her world became filled with words no child should ever have to know: chemotherapy, prosthetics, hair loss, and walking canes.
As a young girl I was stunned by the whole thing. Especially because I clearly remember night after night watching her glide across stage and asking God for legs exactly like hers.
Of course not every situation is as dramatic as this one. But, it’s a good life lesson.
I have learned that I am not equipped to handle what others have—both good and bad. I am, on the other hand, completely equipped to handle what I’ve been given. And the more time I spend being thankful for my life, the less I look around wishing for something else.