Yesterday in book group, we were discussing Jane Austen’s “Emma”. I said, “Are we supposed to like Emma? I mean, it is hard to like somebody who already has everything.”
A woman in the group said to me, “You’re one to talk.”
I was taken aback. What? What is she saying? Does she think I have everything?
I was immediately ready to defend my life. To defend my problems. To say, “Oh, you have NO IDEA what I’ve been through in my life, missy! Let me tell you!” I mentally pulled out my list of grievances with the Powers That Be to unleash them all in a rousing game of “Who’s Life Stinks The Most”, convinced I’d emerge victorious.
There are a few problems with this.
Problem #1: This woman knows me. She’s a new friend. Ok, we don’t discuss ovulation schedules or anything like that, but we’ve had some heart to hearts, and I think she knows the gist of my life’s problem resume. She still thinks I have it all.
Problem #2: I know her problem resume. Hoo boy, is it longer than mine. Way longer. And more painful. And it involves her kids, which mine does not, not in the ways hers does. In a game of Whose Life Stinks the Most, she would win. Hands down.
Problem #3:What kind of idiot wants to win a game like that? Seriously, who wants to be Queen of Life Suckage? You get to wear a crown, maybe, and yeah, you can lord it over the simple people who have happy lives that nobody would want your life, but then after the parade dies down, you still have to go back to your stinky reality, and if you really are the Queen, well, sucks to be you.
Problem #4: Trying to be the Queen of Bad Stuff means that you lost sight of other stuff. Good stuff. Stuff that you should be grateful for, stuff that brings you closer to God and all that and makes you happy.
So I’m a little ashamed at myself for my initial reaction. For not immediately agreeing with her, saying, ‘Yup, I do have it all. Wow, how very blessed I am.”
Ok, I admit it. Sometimes I’m just kinda lame.
Do you ever feel like it’s more fashionable to have a life full of adversity than a life full of joy? Do you ever feel a little bit embarassed aknowledging your blessings in light of somebody else’s suffering, sort of like survivor’s guilt? Do you ever strive to be the Queen of Life Suckage? Why? Is it easier to complain than to have a heart full of gratitude?
And do you like Emma? Because seriously, girls, to me she just bugs.