Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apples to apples

Have you ever played the game where you compare one situation to another and then choose which one you prefer? Like.....okay, me and my sister always do the whole, "Would you rather have no arms or no legs?" or "Would you rather be deaf or blind?" And obviously, ultimately, we would want neither. But it's an entertaining game and makes you really think about how things would change in your life in certain situations.

Which leads me to a blog I was reading. I stumbled upon a blog about a poor little guy who had a disease called EB. Basically whenever he was touched, he got blisters on his skin and the older he got, the worse it got. The blisters would start pitting his skin and become infected and just a few days ago, he went to be with Jesus. It was a really sad, horrible thing to read about--a mother losing her 2 year old to a disease nobody knows much about and there's no cure for.

But there was one thing she said in her blog that really bothered me. It was something along the lines of that fact that a lot of times, she's laughing on the inside because people are worrying about (in her words) stupid things like what medication to give their kid for seizures or how to make their kid's cold go away. And that really frustrated me. Don't get me wrong, I would give my life a million times over to keep Tommy from pain and I am so, SO sorry that mom has to go through what she went through. But to put others down and consider their concerns stupid or insignificant isn't fair either. Her situation is a big deal to her and it's her life, but a kid with seizures or even a kid with an ear infection or something simple and curable is a big deal to THEIR mom. That's THEIR life. It's not right to think they're stupid or insignificant because their problems aren't as "big" as yours. As much as we can try to put ourselves in other people's shoes, ultimately, you can't. You cannot step into someone else's life and experience their experiences or feel their feelings.

It made me step back and think about if I've ever done that. And of course, the answer was yes. Even just something small like someone at work saying, "Oh, I'm tired. I had to go grocery shopping last night and stayed up until 10pm ." And then in my head, I say, "YOU'RE tired?!? I'M tired. I have a one year old with weird sleep patterns and I'm pregnant and pee every 2 hours during the night. I had to do 3 loads of laundry, pick up the house and clean up dinner last night. I'm trying to plan my son's 1st birthday party and make sure I'm awake early enough in the morning to see my husband before he goes to bed and I leave for work. And YOU'RE tired?!?" Sigh. Epic fail at being considerate to others.

But reading what that mom wrote has reminded me that everyone lives their own life--a life with problems unbeknownst to me. What's insignificant in my life may be a HUGE deal in theirs. What's important to me may not mean anything to them. A nurse in my office has a quote on her wall that says, "Be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is fighting their own battle." Stop comparing apples to apples, because someone else's apple will ALWAYS be different than yours--better, worse, prettier, smaller, bigger, DIFFERENT. Try it. You never know how it'll change your life.

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