I picked my daughter up from her friend’s house. I had been to the house before, but I had never gone beyond the front door. This time, however, the mother was in the kitchen and called for me to come back to where she was.
I walked in to the most wonderful, beautiful, spacious party holding kitchen/family room/dining room, combo I had ever seen. I was awestruck and instantly turned green from my hair roots to my toes nails. It has been a long time since I have coveted anything material. We have been blessed with a lot, and frankly, I don’t have a lot of material wants anyway, so I have been very happy with my life, . . . but in a short moment that changed.
Perhaps the envy arrow would not have struck so forcefully, had I not been in the process of planning a large party to be held at my house and wondering where I would sit everyone for the meal. I wanted all the guests to be in the same room, but to do so would require the removal of much of my furniture and we would still be cramped. So when I stood in a room that was “party perfect” I was deeply jealous.
When I returned to my own house, I noticed for the first time how cramped it was, how my kitchen was not very functional, how less ornate my decorations were . . .
It was interesting to me that just a half hour before, I had loved my house and now I was unhappy with everything in it. And the only difference was I had something to compare it to. I was reminded of a book I read several years back called “Sister Carrie”. Carrie was born in poverty and died in wealth, but was never happy. Although she worked hard in her life and accomplished much, the moment she achieved a level of accomplishment, she would see that someone had more than she did, and she would be discontent once again. She proved true the saying “You can never have enough of the things that don’t satisfy.” So here I was, being Carrie.
It struck me how my discontent was solely the result of comparison. I was happy until I saw there was something much better out there. And since there will always be something better, I have decided the cure to being discontent is simply to be grateful.
I love a comment Dawn at “Momza’s House” once wrote on my blog. It said, “A heart filled with gratitude leaves little room for want.” How true that is. And truthfully, being unhappy over a lack of party space does seem a bit (a lot) shallow—especially when I have been blessed with so much. And so I am filling my heart with gratitude—gratitude for my family, fairly decent good health, and the greatest gift—the gospel, which gives purpose and peace to my life and teaches me that those things that are really important—my husband and children—can be with me forever.
And that is what brings the most . . . joy to my journey.