We are all guilty of longing for what others have. A house, a job, a seemingly perfect life, a talent, or even a disposition. When surrounded by people with different things, different situations, it is a natural human response to compare and consider what our lives would be like if only…
And then there is how we view ourselves, when measured by the same stick we use to measure others. So often, when looking at someone else’s presentation of their life (which is not necessarily reality), our own character comes up short.
But if we would only look at our wealth as it stands on it’s own. The unique blessings and gifts that have been carefully crafted and beautifully wrapped just for us. If we would only stand back and look at the wonderful people in our lives, at how dearly we are held, at the beautiful ministry we have been given charge of….at how dear and precious we are to our Heavenly Father.
Throughout my life, there have been times when I read passages, verses, and writings that I took to heart. From time to time I read something and I think “I need to memorize this, so I can have it with me whether I have this book or not.” I have no idea the amount of sonnets, verses, and poems floating around in my head as a result but once I’ve deemed something important enough to be memorized, I’ve never regretted it. One such thing was Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet. It is the Elizabethan equivalent of a kick in the pants whenever you find yourself envious of another and not in full and rightful appreciation of your blessings.
I am going to type this from memory so don’t expect it to be punctuated or laid out like old Will intended. Apologies to Mr Shakespeare.
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone be weep my outcast state
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries, and look upon myself, and curse my fate
Wishing me, like him more rich in hope.
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed…
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope…
With what I most enjoy contented least.
Yet, in these thoughts, myself almost despising…
Happily, I think on thee
and then my state like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth sings hymns at Heaven’s gate
For thy sweet love remembered, such wealth brings
that I scorn to change my state with kings.
Do you get that? He is there, comparing himself to others. Sinking further and further the more he does. Wishing he was popular like one, talented like the other, wise like a third. He compares and compares, always coming up short when he holds himself up to their measure in his mind.
And then, he remembers who loves him.
And all of his wealth, all of the blessings in his life com rushing in and his soul breaks free from the comparison, from the envy, from the jealousy of others…because he realizes what he has. And that sweet love remembered, helps him put his life into perspective to the extent that if he were offered a kingdom in exchange, he wouldn’t even consider it.
Maybe you’ve always wanted a fairy tale. But you know what?
Sometimes castles look like mobile homes.
Sometimes dragons look like bills to pay and laundry piles.
Sometimes riches look like smiles and feel like hugs.
And I happen to know that the best princes and princesses often wear t-shirts, drink coffee, and drive used cars.
Life, just like fairy tales, has highs and lows. I don’t know what part you’re at right now but the truth is, in order to live your fairy tale, in order to truly appreciate the richness of your own life, you’ve got to get your nose out of everyone else’s storybook to see it.
Life is good. And if you let it, it gets even better.