Prayer of Saint Francis

Prayer of Saint Francis
Where there is hatred, let me sow love and, where there is darkness, let me bring light.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Grass Isn't Always Greener

Some of you will remember the expression "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Some of you may have even used it. It is very easy, particularly in these times of high unemployment and difficulty in achieving a high level of education, to think someone else has it better than we do. This can lead us to feelings of inferiority because Madison Avenue tells us we must be thinner, richer, prettier, or better educated in order to be happy. I assure you that this is not the case.

My sister-in-law lives in Arizona. She was married to a very good looking guy who was a financial analyst with a major bank. They had the big house and three kids who were all on the honor roll. She didn't have to work and was a stay-at-home mom. I often felt she had it so much better than I did. My husband was a loser. We didn't have the big house and I was always humping to find some kind of work to help make ends meet.

One day, her husband was arrested. He was a youth pastor at a church and confessed to fondling an eight-year-old boy. He spent several months with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Terri had to work for a mortgage company in order to survive. It was 2008, and the company folded due to the recession. The only job she could find was baby sitting her grandchildren. Julian got out of prison and as you can imagine, couldn't work for the bank anymore. The only job he could get was working for a cheap credit counseling place that didn't offer health insurance. Joanie is a brittle diabetic and her sister, who is a retired registered nurse, says she isn't getting the medical care she needs to handle it.

I wouldn't trade places with her, not anymore. I couldn't stand to have that man in my house, let alone my bed, but it doesn't seem as if she has any choice.

In the 1970s, Farrah Fawcett was the "it" girl. She rose to fame with an iconic poster of her in a red swimsuit and took the country by storm in her role as Jill Munroe on the first season of the television show, "Charlie's Angels." Girls everywhere were requesting to have their hair styled like Farrah's, a cascade of frothy blonde locks that framed her face like angel's wings, and Men's Health named her number 31 on the list of the 100 Hottest Women of All Time. She married actor Lee Majors, who had his own hit series, and lived on a sprawling ranch which was featured in a spread in People magazine.

It looked like she had everything and even after she and Majors divorced, she took up with another entertainer hottie, Ryan O'Neal.

I'll admit, I was jealous. In high school, I was a shy, demure girl who had no idea what she'd do with her life. Farrah was on top of the world and I would have traded my life with hers in a heartbeat. But as the years peeled away, hard times fell on Farrah and now I wouldn't want to be her for anything.

In her 60s, she was diagnosed with anal cancer. She underwent surgery and endured chemotherapy, only to have the cancer return. Told by doctors that she needed a colonoscopy, she turned to alternative treatments in Germany which ultimately failed her. She lost her beautiful mane of hair, and her son, a drug addict, was released from custody at a detention center so that he could say his final good-bye in shackles. The woman who seemed to have everything was now dead.

I wouldn't want to be Farrah. Her life has made mine look pretty tame by comparison.

Michael Jackson, Phil Spector, Bob Filner, Randy Duke Cunningham were all on top of the world at one point. But that is a tenuous place to land. Each of them has fallen from grace as many highly successful people do. And that is why it is so important to turn our focus inward. Instead of envying everyone else, we have to turn the focus inward and count our blessings.

We may not be rich and famous, but we all have something that others do not.

There was a young man who graduated with a bachelor's degree from Polytechnic University in 1920. He soon found that he was unemployable. He felt like a failure. He thought about ending his own life because he was a burden on his parents. His friend took pity on him and got him a clerical job at the Swiss patent office. He worked there while dreaming about science which was his true passion. The man's name was Albert Einstein. In 1999, the editors of Time magazine named him the person of the century because of his contributions in science.

But during his lifetime, his cosmological constant (lambda) was inserted into his theory of general relatively to force the equations to predict a stationary universe in keeping with physicists' thinking at the time. It then became clear that the universe was actually expanding and Einstein called the constant his "biggest blunder."

Decades after his death, scientist revived his cosmological constant to explain a mysterious force called dark energy that seems to counteract gravity causing the universe to expand at an accelerating pace.

This is one reason why it is important to love ourselves, independently of what other people think. No one is right all of the time, and no one lives the perfect life. We must be gentle with ourselves at all times, in order to truly live a happy life.

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