Comparison is comfortable.
There is a man at my local grocery store who makes me want to cry. He is small and mumbles when he talks. His hair is receding, always sticks up in a funny way. He has special needs. He is always smiling. I’ll call him John.
John’s forehead glistens with perspiration. He concentrates intently while he bags my groceries as quickly as he can. It is obvious that he has to put a lot of effort into doing his job. Yet he is always quick to offer help, the only one to ever offer to put my bags in the car for me.
Why does John make me want to cry?
I am an expert of comparison. I can’t even count how many times a day I find flaws within myself and others, find ways in which I am better or worse than those around me. I am a better mother than —— because ——. I am not as beautiful as —— because ——. I am smarter than ——because ——. I do it without even realizing what I’m doing, without seeing what a twisted, ugly habit it is.
I was talking with my sister today. She had her third baby last December. She told me about the kind of comments she had received, from family and acquaintances, about her appearance, her weight. The audacity infuriated me. She is a woman who runs marathons and wrestles demons. And people make comments about remaining pregnancy weight. Do they know what she is capable of? My immediate response to her was contradictory. In one sentence I condemned the comparisons that others made about her but then made comparisons of my own in an attempt to comfort her, to make up for the rude ignorance of others.
John shows me the wickedness woven through my nature.
Each time I see John hard at work in his simple job, I am overcome by the quiet voice of God inside me, whispering truth… “Look at him. He takes the opportunity in front of him and puts his whole heart into it. I could not be more proud of him if he were the CEO. This is his journey, his story. There is no comparison.”
There is no growth without breaking from the norm, from the comfortable.
There is no growth without breaking from the norm, from the comfortable. Comparison is comfortable. By it we determine if we are “safe” within the boundaries of the acceptable. The road less traveled is anything but safe. Choosing the path that leads away from the norm forces me to take my gaze off of others. There is no one to scrutinize but myself, no standard to strive for but God’s, leaving me aware of my need for grace.
At the end of all things, when what we’ve been and done is weighed and measured, it will not be against each other. It will be against ourselves. What we have been versus what we could have been. What we have done with our journey, our story. Do I put my whole heart into the opportunities in front of me? Do I give my best? Do I love as I should?
Thank you for your help, John. Thank you so much.