I skim around the Facebook block every once in awhile, checking to see what others are doing, looking for good deals. And then I’ll pause on a pal’s dirty dish, a complaint, a disappointment, a frustration. I’ll drench myself in their drama. I’ll sit in their misery.
But what surprises me is my secondary reaction to their update. Envy.
I wish I had their problem. I wish that was the biggest thing I was undergoing in this moment. I wish I could complain about the things that were eating at them. And it wasn’t a competitive thing or a feeling of being dispassionate about their circumstance. But a feeling of pure longing for what they had thrown away as garbage.
It dawned on me that while I had a ridiculous time digging up my own fortunes and feelings of gratitude, I could easily pick out all the treasures in their trash. I could see the beauty in sickness, loss, and disappointment because I also saw love, hope, and a well-spent life.
That doesn’t mean we don’t give ourselves the space to vent, complain, cry, or express ourselves. We all deserve to be held in our sorrow, to be lovingly heard, and to be understood without judgment for what we are going through.
What it does mean is that there is a lot of hope buried underneath the things we label difficult.
A friend once told me, “You don’t even know how many people want the life you have.” Sitting in my pajamas in my dorm room stressing over a final, I thought he was mad. But I think I finally got it.
You can look at your life as a never ending road toward failure. And through those lens, everything will appear hopeless. Or you can see your life as a class, teaching you unlimited lessons of compassion, growth and courage.
We can focus on the garbage in our life or we can look through it and find the treasure hidden beneath. Yes we all have a lot of trash to pick up. But we also have a lot more to be grateful for than we think.