Thursday, October 29, 2015

For the Days When Everyone Else's Lives Look Better Than Your Own...

Day in and day out I'm surrounded by possibilities.
What I choose to look at is one of them.
This modern interconnected world offers a door wide open into life anywhere I might want to go and anything I might want to see.
All these images offer up a tempting feast, inviting me to taste it all....
and it all looks good.
Most of the time it looks much better than my life right now.

In fall it's the images of leather boots and chunky-knit sweaters crunching through lanes sheltered by towering trees of gold and crimson.
It's pictures of perfectly orange pumpkins lined up in rows and sweet children with flushed cheeks beaming over their cups of cider.

Rarely are there photos of the pouring rain, the little one covered in mud from a tumble in the pumpkin patch, or two young ones fighting over the same pumpkin.

In winter it's the perfectly-built snowman, each button eye perfectly placed, carrot nose long and orange.
The snow is falling softly through the dusky, sparkling twilight.
Fires glow in fire places, children sit quietly sipping hot chocolate while dad reads a story that everyone listens to with sparkling eyes and contented smiles.

It's never shares of patchy, slushy gray snow that's been around for weeks, the chapped cheeks and fingers from the biting wind, or a house that's been ripped apart by the wild ones with cabin fever when the temperature won't budge over one degree for weeks on end.

Homeschooling is a delight with curated stacks of shiny, picturesque books, clay jars of sharply-pointed colored pencils, and neat stacks of faintly-lined notebook paper.
The children are always wearing the most-fashionable clothes, each hair neatly combed in place, and happy smiles on each face.

I've yet to see a home school feed where the books are falling apart, bound back together with a good dose of clear tape and strict orders that only mother can touch those books.
It's rare to see those lovely pencils as stubs, rolling under foot and on table and down into the edges of the couch where they were last used.
Not too many portraits shared of the little students in their dirty play clothes, hair bedraggled and bit dirty at the end of the day, being ordered outside with that stick to clean up the mess already!

Nature study photos always reveal exciting new finds.
Journals are faithfully kept, and each sketch is accurate and detailed and a miniature piece of art.
The pupils can't wait to head outside each day to learn more about God's creation.

I'm quite sure that not every child runs beaming outside to record the science living and breathing around them, though I don't think I've ever seen the pictures to prove that.

Homes are full of giggling children, each happy to be working with the other.
Chores are finished in record time, and each one checked-off on the adorable job chart hanging on the stainless steel refrigerator.
Food is prepared with plenty of helping hands cooking nutritious, delicious meals, most of it either raised in the family garden or purchased at the nearby farmers' market.

But I'm quite sure that somewhere there are siblings arguing a bit, chores that didn't get checked off that neat little chart {quite possibly they haven't been checked off for a week!}, a mother frustrated by all the finger prints on that shiny fridge, and food that might not be the most healthy, and might.....just possibly.....have come from a fast-food joint.

 I have come to realize that these beautiful images might be just that. Images.
They are a memory that someone wants to hold onto.
Nothing more.
That table loaded with all those tempting morsels to try?
If I don't have discernment, they can be poison.
Maybe they are someone's memories, but maybe they are a temptation of discontentment wrapped in a shiny package.

How often do I look at others' pictures and think my life should look the same?
Do I take time and acknowledge the fact that all of us share our happy images, our joyful moments, our best hair days, our most gourmet meals, the days when everything is actually going well instead of crumbling to pieces at our feet?

I usually snap the photos when the little ones aren't dirty, or covered in paint for the second time in one day, or haven't just been caught dumping out an entire bottle of shampoo in the bottom of the shower while mama was trying to get supper on the table.
Why wouldn't others do the same?

I catch up the things I want to remember, and frankly, some things I don't really need a picture of to do that.
As a mama of little people, the rough days aren't forgotten too quickly.

Many days I choose to take the pictures I do because I need to hunt for the beauty around me.
Why then do I look at all those images available to me, and assume that every one else must have a perfect life that looks exactly like their blog, their facebook timeline, or their Instagram feed?

And why, oh why, do I sometimes choose to waste my time looking at pretty pictures of other peoples' lives rather than living my own?

God, Help me choose wisely and well how I spend my time. Help me not feel obligated to do things just because I see others doing them. Remind me that I have just one life to live. Help me live it well.When I do have time to see the beauty others have captured, guard my heart against envy and discontentment. I want to appreciate it all for what it is ~ lovely memories that others have been kind enough to share. Give me wisdom to know when enough is as good as a feast. Amen.

*Sharing my happy images here and hoping everyone knows that my life has it's ups and downs, good days and bad days, just like yours. And sometimes? It's easy to wish my life looked as pretty as somebody else's.


  1. These pictures ARE pretty. Thank you for sharing them :)

  2. Agreed and absolutely understood.
    Thanks for the great reminder!
    Shellee in Japan