Thursday, January 31, 2013

Greener grass

I have this friend.  To say he has financial troubles is a major understatement.  He had a huge medical scare a couple of years ago, almost died, and is probably drowning in medical bills.  He lost his job last year and took a job making $8/hour with a wife (who has a job) and 2 kids to feed.  I genuinely feel for him and would help him if I could.

Conversely, I am solidly upper-middle-class.  Drew makes a nice salary, we have GREAT benefits, we have a lawn man, a maid, and a brand new Toyota Camry.  All of those things make me very happy.  I love them.  They make my life easier.  We have very few financial worries.  I DO NOT take that for granted.  I have been incredibly poor.  I have lived by myself making $6/hour.  I have eaten ramen noodles more than I care to admit.  I am very, very thankful that I can live comfortably.

My friend has two healthy children.  They go to baseball, Boy Scouts, soccer, they're doing great in school, he has a great relationship with both of them.

My child is incredibly sick.  He has cerebral palsy, Asperger's Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, possibly ADHD.  He just had to spend 8 days in the hospital.  My relationship with him is greatly strained because of his behavioral issues.

My friend throws a huge fit and makes fun of me if I so much as mention any one of my luxuries.  I just got my new car a couple of days ago and am excited about it.  It's like a spaceship.  But I have to stop talking about it in front of him because every time I do, he makes fun of me.  "Oh, did you get a new car?"  Every time.  "Why does someone without a job have a maid?  I have three jobs and I clean my own house."

Conversely, I don't say anything when he says something about his kids going to baseball games.  Getting good grades on their report cards.  Going to Boy Scout camp.  My kid can't do any of those things.  Do I make fun of him when he brags about that stuff?  Nope.  I don't begrudge him those things.  I certainly wish I had them, but I don't think he shouldn't have them.

I would much, much rather have his life than mine.  I would do anything, ANYTHING to have a healthy child.  I have done everything in my power to make my child as healthy as he can be.  I have a ton of money.  I would trade all of it away for a child whose life wasn't going to be tortured on a daily basis.

I shouldn't have to feel bad about the money that I have because he doesn't have money.  I have never let any of my friends or family go hungry or go without for their children, and would readily give him money (give, not loan) if he asked.  He shouldn't feel bad about having healthy kids because I don't have a healthy child.  Neither of us should take what we have for granted, and neither of us should begrudge the other the blessings that we have.

I'm tired of his crap today.  Really tired.

1 comment:

RhondaLue said...

I think people always think the grass is greener on the other side. Is it human nature to see our own struggles and be jealous of those that don't have those struggles? I think, yes. Have I felt that way myself before? HELL YES!

But at the same time, I've learned with age and experience that EVERY SINGLE PERSON has their own struggles or demons, private or otherwise. I have known women who seem to just have it ALL and there was one in particular that I envied a lot. As I got to know her I found out some of the things she had been through during her childhood and I stopped being envious of all she had/all she was that very second, and started admiring her for overcoming it all in such a graceful way.

I'm happy for people that have a maid. I want one someday and there's nothing wrong with it whether you have an outside job or not. If you can afford it and it makes your life easier then why the heck NOT!? I'm also happy for people who can afford to put all of their kids in paid sports programs and who have never spent 4 out of 5 weekdays in Dr's offices or hospitals. Sometimes a bonus weekend too! It's not my life...but it'd be cool!

I think your friend is just seeing things clouded and in a one-sided way. I do it too, sometimes, but continually try hard to be thankful for the blessing I *do* have and focus on that.