I realized it again last night. And I have the worst kind. This is why...
I got a call yesterday afternoon from someone in the ward asking if I could take a meal to a family where the mother just had surgery. Sure, no problem. I had never met these people and thought it'd be a good opportunity to do so. So I loaded up Grayson last night and we headed out through the snow to the address I was given. My heart sank when we drove into the circle of the overbuilt, brand-new homes in our ward boundaries, and I found myself getting quite annoyed that here I was - basically a single mother during this and last week while Josh worked from 7am-9pm every day (including Saturday and Sunday), taking quite a bit of time out of my VERY busy week trying to get all holiday-related things accomplished before we leave town Wednesday - taking dinner to a family that seemed to have so much more than we do. The husband opened the door to a room filled with beautiful furniture and a tv that nearly consumed the entire wall of their immaculate home, and I wanted to know why I, the woman whose family lives on as little as possible in order to save all extra money for the 'house fund', had prepared a dinner for these people that didn't seem to need it.
I was so frustrated I didn't bother to ask their names or engage their little boy in conversation. I just dropped the meal off and said I'd return later for the pan. Then I left. Even worse, I saw the mom come walking into the room through a window while I drove away and I recognized her. She's very stylish and always dressed to the nines, and has a son to match just a few months younger than Grayson. As I drove home I stewed about how she probably gets to take her baby to Relief Society every Sunday while I pass mine off to anyone available so I can go to Primary. I pulled into our still snow-covered driveway and sighed as I realized the husband had probably snow-blowed their driveway and walks while I was cooking for his family only to have to shovel my own drive when I got home or wait for Josh to do it later that night when he was finally done working.
I could see I was on a pretty bad downward spiral and it felt completely opposite to this, which is what I preferred, so I asked God to please help me feel the spirit of the Christmas season instead of all my bitterness. Because God is so nice to me even though I'm not always nice to His other children, He made me remember something I had heard once about pride looking up instead of down. A quick search led me right to the source:
"Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. (See 2 Ne. 9:42.) There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous."
President Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4
Jealousy a form of pride? Guilty as charged. I contemplated ways to eliminate (or at the very least, lessen) my jealousy, and in the end decided to make a list of 50 things I've been blessed with that I am grateful for, regardless if others have them or not.
It worked. In making that list I realized how much God does love me and my little family. Josh and I have wanted for nothing since we married, and we're able to save a substantial amount of money every month, putting us in a better financial position than many find themselves right now. Grayson has everything he needs, as do we. Our time to own a home will come soon enough, and in the meantime we've been very lucky with the homes we've rented and the areas in which we've lived. Josh's job is secure - a luxury in the present economic circumstances for many - and it allows me to stay home with our son. We've been able to put a lot of resources into preparing for our future needs because we've been so blessed with our present ones. Life is so much better when you forget to compare yourself to others. Hey, typing that line just made me think of a line in a poem I read long along and loved enough that I pasted a copy into my scriptures:
"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans."