Even though I say I dont or I wont, its almost impossible not to. Im talking about comparing myself to others. I suppose its human nature, right? The whole idea of keeping up with the Joneses ... or maybe these days, its not the keeping up, but the losing out on that Im trying to assess.
The other day, I was at our veterinarians office. The woman behind the counter was helpful, explaining the alternatives for our needs. Once we had figured out the best and most cost-effective route to take, she printed my receipt. It indicated our pets status for vaccinations, one of which was paired with a physical exam. I asked if the exam was imperative to get the vaccination. She indicated that it wasnt, but since it had been awhile, it would be a good idea. I told her I understood, but since finances were a bit tight, we hoped to do only what was necessary. At that time, the veterinarian who was nearby, said something to the effect of, who isnt experiencing tough times. I know it wasnt meant to be derogatory, but it stung.
Our differences as human beings are immense. Varied tastes, experiences, education, environmental factors these differences are among the things we cherish and that make us individuals. Judging someone or something without having the facts is a fault most of us may be guilty of at one time or another. After the vet indicated she was struggling too, I said to myself, yeah, right. Surely her level of struggle and mine could not be viewed on the same plane. I was slightly irritated with her response and indication that we were kindred spirits.
When I talked to my husband about it later, I realized I was doing the same thing I was accusing her of. How could I know the level of her struggle? I dont. It was easier to dismiss her struggle than to feel empathy for whatever she might be experiencing.
Sharing our plight doesnt always elicit that sort of response. Our family has experienced some amazing acts of kindness that have allowed our children to experience things they may not have otherwise had access to. I wish I could list the people who have gone out of their way to demonstrate compassion and empathy while allowing us to keep our dignity. Thats something were fighting hard to keep hold of. I know were not alone.
I try to take a big step back regularly and appreciate all we have. My youngest daughters weekly spelling assignment requires her to cut out her words and place them into categories. One night I was preparing to put on my pajamas when a perfectly folded white piece of paper came tumbling out of a tank top. I slowly opened it to read the word rich. I folded it back up and passed it to my husband. We both got chills. We are rich in ways I cannot begin to quantify; the ones that truly matter, the ones I hope my children will someday value.