I had a weekend that was filled with inward gazing. I'd attended an event early on that left me feeling nothing but inadequate. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, but it wasn't for me. All I could feel was (dare I say it?) jealousy. I don't think the person in question has any idea the depth of my feelings, or how inconsequential she makes me feel, and happily she doesn't read blogs. (She once told me she was way too busy to bother with them after I was talking about mine. Sweet.) But she is everything I am not: thin, accomplished, assertive, thin, organized, disciplined, and... did I say thin?
Once upon a time there were two girls in the family who played piano. One was really confident and assertive about it, and so the other one just sort of let the talent fade away into the background. You can guess which one I am. The other one had a birthday party on Friday and invited about 100 people to perform for. For her birthday. On her new Steinway. On my best day, I would never have thought to do that, but you know what? It was really really nice. She did a beautiful job, and the party and the entire occasion was lovely. And I was miserable. Why? Because at times I'd like to have that kind of confidence - that self assurance. And, quite frankly, that many friends that would indulge me.
So, I went home feeling bad, feeling angry, but most of all feeling like I'd done nothing of worth in my life. I'm a thinker, and so I thought and thought and thought about why I was so resentful. It certainly wasnt' HER fault. It was all me. I mean, would I really want to be her? She is accomplished, yes, and has a lot of material things, yes. But I am accomplished as well, and I have nice things that I love, too. She is driven - I am not. I am relaxed. I sleep well at night. I don't usually toss and turn. I don't drive people crazy pushing them. With me it's sort of que sera sera. But then when I don't get all the lights and attention, I get sulky. The real truth is, it wouldn't hurt me to be more driven, just as it wouldn't hurt her to relax a little bit. Moderation is a good thing. But we are who we are, and somehow we need to learn when to be satisfied with that, and when we need to improve and step it up a notch.
I said many prayers about it, hoping to get some kind of enlightenment, some kind of something that would help me feel a little better about my meager contributions to the world. About how I yearn for attention and then when I get it I want to turn around and hide. Ego is a funny thing: so fragile, yet so easily bolstered. And this is what I want to stress - Heavenly Father totally understands that. He knows we struggle, and He knows our weak spots, and He knows when our hearts hurt. And - He knows when we're trying to learn something about ourselves so we can grow and move on. And so, while I was sitting at the piano (how ironic) in Primary, sweet Lori asked about my daughter and how she was doing with the new baby. And then she smiled and said "She was one of my Young Women, you know. She is such a happy girl - one of my favorites." And you know - the sun just came out. I was handed a gift. I felt like I'd done my part in giving the world the happy girl that is my daughter. And it gave me joy and confidence. So thank you, Lori, for your comments. You never know what small little thing you say will mean the world to someone in that moment. I am thankful for you, and I'll go even further. I'm thankful for your two boys, who are always willing and available to help anyone who needs a hand. Job well done on your part. And so we pay it forward. We are thankful for the blessings we've been given, and we do our best to pass it on. And that's what Thanksgiving is all about.