Dear Super Amazing, Gifted, Friend on Facebook,
(And BTW – none of those things are sarcastic, I truly mean them,)
I’m happy that your kids are all doing what they are supposed to be doing in life.
I’m happy that doors are opening and you are so darn grateful for everything that is happening in your life.
I’m happy that you and your husband are happy. That you rarely fight and that you wake up grateful every day for being in the same space.
I truly am happy for you. (You’re gonna think I’m not. But I promise you, I am.)
But I can’t take it anymore. I promise you, I am not wishing you ill will. I want you to have those things. But here’s the thing.
I can’t hear about them anymore.
You (and a lot of people reading this,) are going to think that I’m shallow. If I could only get a little more Jesus, I could read your posts, your back door brags, every updating starting with the same phrase, “I’m so proud of___________ (insert child’s name here.)”. Maybe you’re right. But God and I are working on me, together. And one of the things I need to work on (big time) is actively working against discontent. And I’m working on it:
- We’ve adopted a Compassion child (because who can sit in a place of discontent when you can take food in the fridge and a bed to sleep in for a given?)
- Roger and I are purposely looking for ways to help people in our lives
- I write a list of gratitude once a week
- I look for things to thank God for, aloud, every single day
I’m working on it.
But every time I read a post about your seemingly perfect life, I go back to that ugly place. That gnarled, twisted ugly place where I think to myself “Why does God love her more than me?” (I told you it was ugly…)
It brings me back to 4th grade where my teacher, Mrs. B. took a weird dislike to me. (How anyone can randomly hate a nine year old is beyond me, but I digress.) Mrs. B. would pass out candy to the kids in class, but “run out” when it came to me. If a friend and I were caught talking, I would be sent to run laps out on the field, but my friend was excused. She tried to have me switched to the “Early Readers” (in other words, slow readers) class even though I was reading three grades beyond our level. I couldn’t understand why Mrs. B. seemingly liked all the other girls in class, but didn’t like me.
So I go along in my life, practicing my gratitudes. Not always getting it perfect, but definitely making progress. And then I run across a post from a friend who talks about their poor choice, or the poor choice of one of their kids, and they do it with humor and grace (because the worst choices can make the best stories,) and it encourages me, and makes me want to rally around my friend and do the dance of the sister-in-arms – we may trip, we may stumble, but because we are linking arms, and loving each other, we will not let each other fall. And I keep dancing.
But when I come to your post, about your child’s perfect grades, and this post is identical to the six posts before it, showing me the shiny side of your life? It brings me back to fourth grade. And let me tell you – once was enough for fourth grade.
I need to read your highs and your lows. I need to know that you get it. No – I don’t need your family secrets. I do need to know when your hair looks like Don King, or when you bought the ice cream after your son’s team lost the soccer match. Brag on your kids – yes – let me celebrate them with you. But balance the victories with the “growing opportunities”. Because we all have ’em.
OK so I’m not blocking you today. I’m hiding your post for a while until I get a little stronger. Let’s check back with each other in six months. We both may be different then. Maybe I can hold you up when one of those “growing opportunities” comes along.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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