Comparison breeds Discontent

I’ll be honest, I’m an alright guy if you don’t know me.

Up close, I’m not nearly as thoughtful or calm. A lot of what might look like calm is usually just buttoning down. I’m having one of those days. The steam is hissing from just under the kettle’s lid. What about? I can list some things. I can list a lot of things. Whoever wins the next election, we lose I think. I’m almost thirty-one, and my employees make more than I do. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about my stories, but I have only one rating/review that’s more than verbal.

I could go on. Complain about my fading Marine Corps physique. Act like mine is the only marriage that has rough spots. But when I stop and think about. Do I really have anything to complain about? I may not make much, but my bills are covered. I may have the too frequent a fight with my wife, but she’s still there, and she’s carrying our second child even though the first one broke her heart. I may not be able to run 14 miles non-stop (I’m sure I could with a bit more exercise), but I have no chronic maladies. I may not be able to have a glass of wine a night, but I have more food on the table than billions in other countries, and despite my lack of a graduate degree I probably eat better food than many accredited individuals who say they know better.

For everything, I feel that I lack, I can think of the fact that right now, right here, my needs are met. I am alive, I have health for the moment. I have strength for my work. My bills, my unmet desires, those are the jurisdiction of the future. And based on years of paying bills, I can say that those unpaid bills will in all likelihood get paid. Something, many people cannot claim in this economy.

And that’s really the key isn’t it? My needs are met. If myself, Bill Gates, the Pope, Johnny Depp, and the CEO of KFC were dropped into the woods with only the provisions from the woods, would they be any better off? Am I poorer because someone else has more, even though my needs are met? Why can’t I simply be glad for the goodness God has for them without saying “Why didn’t he do that for me?”

I don’t even know anything about them aside from the snippits of the most truth-seeking popular culture. Maybe they’re miserable inside?

I hope not. I am deciding daily to be glad for what they have. Glad that God was pleased to make a world with computers, electricity, America, Brie, Alisa, writing, stories, Batman, the Bible, fresh water, peaches, and I am glad for those more endowed than myselves who can bring about jobs and new innovations that I cannot.

That steam starts to seep away, doesn’t it? If I have enough, and I don’t start measuring the gap between what I think someone else has and what I think I have (with my generous, discontent motivated inventory), then I’m really alright. What can we say of those like Mother Theressa who chose to have even less? Do we think she was less happy than we? I doubt it. Things don’t take happiness, but they don’t give it either.

In whatever case I am, I have enough. I can be glad in that. And I can be glad for the gap between me and another. I do not need to, I cannot, measure myself by anyone else, but by the person God made me to be. And wherever I am, I am the person God made me to be. If rich, I would not be richer. If destitute, I would not be poorer.

Be glad.

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