How does this make sense?


#1

I’m sort of indulging in a bit of a pity party…just tired at the moment, and this situation has been on my mind. I just don’t understand…

I have neighbor, actually a fairly good friend. She is in the process of divorcing her husband, and has a boyfriend living with her. She has 2 children both of whom she pulled out of CCD after they made their First Communions. She is not a practicing Catholic, and is not going any further with her kids’ religious education. She does not have to work because of an inheritance.

On the other hand, there’s me. I have been married for 20 years, my husband is clinically depressed and has not worked for 7 years. He is on social security. I have stood by him and have loved him through his illness, and even an episode of infidelity (on his part) 10 years ago. I work full time nights, and make fairly good money, however money is always tight. We are in jeopardy of losing our house… I go to church, and am raising our kids in the Catholic faith.

Everyday my friend posts her “LIfe is good” status updates on Facebook, while I am fighting back tears everyday due to stress.

Why does it seem that she is blessed with an apparently good life, while I am barely holding it together despite the fact that I am prayerful and faithful and trying to do all the right things.

I am not jealous per se, and I’m not saying I deserve good just because of my faith etc…I just don’t get it.


#2

What a person put on their FB status isn’t always the truth of what is going on. I wouldn’t judge the person. Instead, pray for her that she will come back to the Church, etc. We all have our own crosses to bear and it may look like “worldly” or “immoral” people have better lives but that is not always the case. You don’t know the whole story. Just pray for her. That is all that you can do.


#3

Well, if she wasn’t your neighbor or if you didn’t know a thing about her, would you be happy with your life? I’m guilty of this as well, but as soon as we start to compare our lives with what we think others have, we’ve already lost. Everyone’s life looks so much better from our side of the fence. We can become too busy comparing ourselves to other people and we never really do a true comparison because we only list our negative aspects of our lives to the positives of others.

You are still married, you are raising your children in the faith, you have a job that pays fairly well, your family is healthy despite your husband’s problems, you have the resources to still provide for your family is some shape or form even if the worst happens and you lose your house. You have a neighbor that you consider a pretty good friend, despite comparing yourself to her. I bet you could list many more items to feel good about, since I only know you through your OP.

Now look at your neighbor’s life…she is going through a divorce and her life has been turned upside down, has a lived in boyfriend that may never give her the kind of relationship that is stable and functional, she has kids that have to deal with the breakup of their parents and are not getting a religious education when they could need it the most…and all that could only be scratching the surface. Perhaps she puts “life is good” on her FB because that’s what gets her through the day, or maybe its all about appearances. She could very well be wishing she had what you have as well. And the thing is with her not having to work because of an inheritance, I think she is missing out on not being able to know she can provide for herself. There is something very good about being able to work for a living instead of relying on other people’s money, provided you are physically and mentally able to do so. She is really not “blessed” to have that inheritance, not as much as you think she might be.


#4

Jesus,our Lords peace be with You.
Dear friend. I see Your point. I don’t know how well this realy fits in,but remember the story about Abraham and Lazarus. It might help You,along with a Hail Mary I offer for You. And don’t forget that no night last for ever,there always come a morning.


#5

Your friend is lucky to have you as her friend - GOD works in mysterious ways. St. Francis taught us to “evangelize always and when necessary use words”, your life is your evangelization to your children and especially to your friend. You cannot see what GOD is doing within their hearts as they/she looks upon you, and your continued efforts for your husband, children and family.
What did the Virgin Mary do, when She was informed by Gabriel the Archangel that her cousin Elizabeth was in her 6th month of pregnancy? She packed Her bag and immediately left to care for Her family member, as you are, in Her example caring for your family member, your spouse. Mary gave us the model that “the family” is sacred and to be protected and loved and nourished, and from your description, you are the fountain that is feeding your family with more than the money of your hard work.
Pray the rosary for her, and be prepared to use your words when she comes to you empty and fearful. Money is a very lonely partner in life. Lead her back to JESUS through Mary by way of the Rosary.
I will remember you, your family and your husband in my prayers. Your courage lifts my soul on this day.


#6

Your friend sounds like what I would call a “spiritual leper”. Leprosy destroys the body’s ability to feel pain and leads to all sorts of ailments. But, if you dont know or dont care that your body is falling apart around you and you avoid looking in a mirror, you would assume that Life is Grand.

Just know that her view is sick, distorted, and destructive. Her apparent happiness is the lull of a spiritual disease that, if left untreated, will lead to her going down instead of up.

[BIBLEDRB]Jeremiah 20:11[/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]Matthew 5:10-12[/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]John 15:18-20[/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]Acts 14:21-22[/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]Romans 8:35-39[/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]2 Corinthians 4:8-11 [/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]2 Corinthians 12:10[/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]2 Timothy 3:12 [/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]1 Peter 4:12-14 [/BIBLEDRB]

[BIBLEDRB]1 Peter 4:16[/BIBLEDRB]

It may not be much help at the moment, but remember that Christ did not promise us an easy life. He did not say that we would have a life like a rose garden when we accepted Him. But He did tell us that He would be with us, that He would be in us, and that He would be for us.


#7

I can totally relate to this. I agree with the others that just because her FB status says things are going well doesn't mean that is reflective of truth. She could be saying that to convince herself or as a positive reminder, but regardless, that is all pure speculation.

I have a hard time with others who are Catholic, married, have kids and yet complain about their husbands or don't go to church or try being involved with their church when I had a REALLY hard struggle getting confirmed. I fought like h3ll to get here when everything was working against me getting confirmed yet so many Catholics could care less about something they were born into. I would LOVE to be married again (was married as a Protestant, got divorced, got an annulment then my ex died of cancer so I'm totally single) and want to have children yet all I seem to be meeting are men who are not serious about their faith, don't want to be married or tied down or have kids (even despite BEING Catholic) or they are only interested in physical relationships.

I also have a "friend" who I found out was much more immature and superficial than I thought initially and is ONLY interested in getting married and having kids. And she got her guy. They are getting married next year, I believe. While being truly happy for her finding someone who is a really good guy, I really and truly don't understand why not me, too? I wouldn't want to take away from her happiness. I just want to be happy, too, in that way and find someone, too. I am also 10 years older than her and also face my clock ticking away.

I struggle with feeling sad and self-pity and negative about what I can only see every single day yet every single day I try to focus on others' needs through volunteering or building my new business so that my mind doesn't wander and also because God sees it ALL so I am trying to trust Him wholly and completely, which is tough. I have a hard time trusting in men anyway. I do not want to become embittered because I have no idea what God is doing in others' lives. Most of the time, I'm trying to figure out what He's doing in mine!

It's natural and easy to look at others' but the truth is we just don't know what is going on and what others are facing just like they don't know what we're going through or how God is working in our lives. Many years ago, I worked with a woman who was SO jealous of me she couldn't see straight. All she saw was the exterior, but the truth was she was just miserable in her situation. What she didn't know was the pure h3ll I was going through and that I would cry myself to sleep at night and dealt with my own insecurities.

This woman could very well not understand why you've got it so good, either, in her eyes.

My prayers to you both.


#8

It is understandable that you are feeling stressed out and wishing things were easier! That would be true whether or not you personally knew someone who did not have things so hard.

Still, of the person who has faith and the person who has material comfort, the person with faith has been given the better portion. As Theodore Roosevelt put it: "I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well." It is people like you who earn the admiration of the best people, and the reward of Heaven. Those of us who squander our blessings in this life will have the more difficult path to salvation in the end. I cannot judge that friend of yours, but pray for her. She has been given a light! What is it doing under a basket?! Surely no one with a life of faith could want to live apart from the sacraments, apart from that which gives life. She has seen herself in the mirror, now seems to have walked off, forgetting what she looked like. What can she be thinking? She is missing so much.

You are fighting the good fight and you are making of your trials that which will yield a profit. You are like the young person who is practicing her violin for hours or studying or out on the practice field doing drills, while others give themselves over to leisure, doing nothing to better themselves. You are being made into the person God means you to be by your trials, because you are meeting them as God means you to do. That is the main thing. Consider, on this Feast of All Saints, that is you that has been given a path akin to those that the saints have walked. None of them got their crown the easy way.

Come away with him as often as you can, and keep your eyes open for those little moments that lighten your load. Ask for a Simon of Cyrene or a Veronica, too, for Our Lord does not intend that anyone carry his or her cross alone.


#9

When the Lord is giving you a rough time, He allows you to laugh about it. Actually, I think Heaven encourages a sense of humor. So do not be too hard on yourself when times are bad, but feel free to send a little good-natured grousing to Heaven:

When a cart was overturned one day, resulting in a broken leg for St. Teresa of Avila, the saint groused good-naturedly: “Dear Lord, if this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few!"

And from Fiddler on the Roof:

(to God) Sometimes I think, when it gets too quiet up there, You say to Yourself, "What kind of mischief can I play on My friend Tevye?" -Tevye

Perchik: Money is the world's curse.
Tevye: May the Lord smite me with it! And may I never recover!

Dear God, you made many, many poor people. I realize there's no shame in being poor...but it's no great honor either. So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune? -Tevye

So maybe you can learn the words to If I were a Rich Man, and it will help a little:

If I were a rich man--
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum--
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum,
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard--
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum--
If I were a biddy biddy rich
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show!

I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks
For the town to see and hear.
Squawking just as noisily as they can.
With each loud "cheep" "swaqwk" "honk" "quack"
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say "Here lives a wealthy man!"

If I were a rich man--
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum--
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum,
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard!--
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum--
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I'd see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife,
With a proper double-chin,
Supervising meals to her heart's delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock--
Oy, what a happy mood she's in!--
Screaming at the servants, day and night!

The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
"If you please, Reb Tevye..."
"Pardon me, Reb Tevye..."
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi's eyes!

And it won't make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong.
When you're rich, they think you really know!

If I were rich, I'd have the time that I like
To sit in the synagogue and pray
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all. (sigh...)

If I were a rich man--
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum--
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard!--
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum...

Lord, who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan....
If I were a wealthy man!?!


#10

There is a little phrase that I use when I start feeling that green monster/sin of envy…

“Never compare your insides with someone else’s outsides.” That means you don’t know what’s really going on inside someone else’s life and so if you take their outsides (what they show) as an indication that their life is great, you’ll be mistaken.

Believe it or not, I was watching “Sister Wives” last night - it’s like a train wreck, you can’t look away - and I started thinking “wow, that guy really seems to love all of his 'wives!” Here I am looking at a polygamous marriage and thinking, hmmmm, I’d like to have that much attention from MY husband!!! Sheesh. I am going to confession on Wednesday. And I am NOT watching that show again!

My antidote for the pity party? Have the party, throw some confetti, and then go help someone who I KNOW is worse off than I am. For me, it’s been helping at the pro-life office or praying in front of Planned Parenthood, but you could help with the homeless committee at your church or whatever. Gratitude chases away those feelings of “poor me.”


#11

Rsrn06,

Because you are living not for this world, but for the world to come. Because in comparison to an eternity in paradise your time here is less than the blink of an eye.

Because when you're 80 and look at back at your life, there will be no regrets.
You will be satisfied and not wish to have lived it differently. You will be rightfully proud that you were there for your kids, that you did your best to guide them to God (if they choose a different path it will not be because of something you failed to do). That you will not have shown them the example that you consider relationships expendable and the Lord's commandments too hard to keep. You showed them that words and oaths and commitments are to be honored and lived. That 'in sickness and in health, in good times and bad times...' weren't just platitudes uttered in a white gown as part of a ceremony, they were firmly held convictions that you lived out. Because it will give your kids strength in their difficult times. Look in your mirror and consider all the things about yourself- you have chosen to be wonderful, you have character, and it makes sense that you love your kids enough to past that on to them.

Your friend may firmly believe that 'her life is good'- but that's because she's only concerned with HER life. Her life right now. No regard for the devastation she may be causing to others, no regard for her responsibilities to her children. Her boyfriend certainly doesn't sound like much. A man who would move in with someone who isn't even divorced yet? Is he enjoying her inheritance as well? Will he stick by her in difficult times, knowing she divorced her husband and moved him in? You have no idea what the future will hold for her. If she gets pregnant will boyfriend stick around? The ancient Greeks had an expression, something like- "The millstone of the Gods grinds slowly, but it grinds to powder". Some of the choices she's making now may well catch up with her in this life down the road. And whether they do or not, it's not going to add or detract from your happiness.

So, yeah it makes sense. You wouldn't want to be like her- even if you would like life to be easier at times.

As for you husband's depression- I have found the following books by Anne Sheffield extremely beneficial:

How You Can survive When They're Depressed
Depression Fallout

As well as her website, which includes recommendations for other books and has some good forums:
www.depressionfallout.org

Don't hold back the tears- let them out when they need to come out. When you feel like having a pity party- HAVE THE PARTY- INVITE FRIENDS AND FAMILY- than move on. Ask your husband to hold you then- let him know he's needed. He can do this for you. My kids and I have been through a tough year. A year where they wonder why their lives have been devastated but not their friends. Don't know if you've seen the movie Zombieland. But my kids came away from it with a motto:

Rule #32. Enjoy the little things.
In all their difficulties they've learned to take the time to enjoy the sunshine, their dogs, a nice sandwich, a good book, phone call with a friend, a joke- anything positive when they start to get down. So, after your pity party, do something positive to take care of yourself. Go for a run (don't know if you workout but it has the same effect on brain chemistry as anti-depressants). Take the time to enjoy the little things and you will find that your status is "life is good" as well. And life will make sense when you realize you're living it in accordance with your convictions- and that's hard. Life is too short to be miserable, when the big things fall apart, you'll find there are a lot of small things that are still great.


#12

yeah, it’s true that this stuff can be hard to take. if Christianity guaranteed diminished suffering in this life, and if lack of faith guaranteed hardship, everybody would choose Christ.

a few thoughts from st augustine’s City of God:

To the divine providence it has seemed good to prepare in the world to come for the righteous good things, which the unrighteous shall not enjoy; and for the wicked evil things, by which the good shall not be tormented. But as for the good things of this life, and its ills, God has willed that these should be common to both; that we might not too eagerly covet the things which wicked men are seen equally to enjoy, nor shrink with an unseemly fear from the ills which even good men often suffer.
There is, too, a very great difference in the purpose served both by those events which we call adverse and those called prosperous. For the good man is neither uplifted with the good things of time, nor broken by its ills; but the wicked man, because he is corrupted by this world’s happiness, feels himself punished by its unhappiness.

and this:

Therefore the good man, although he is a slave, is free; but the bad man, even if he is a king, is a slave, and that not of one man, but, what is far more grievous, of as many masters as he has vices;


#13

I'm going to keep this short and simple because my divorce has been Hell - we get our riches in the next world not in this one and the Kingdom that is being built is in Heaven not in Jerusalem. God bless.


#14

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