Do you want “the good life”? I do, too, but I’ve clunked along. I have three particular doubts that tug at me: envy, untruth and hopelessness. If your “good life” plans are rough on the edges, I bet you have these doubts, too.
First, the doubt of envy. I have friends whose Facebook posts are littered with glee. They seem to be attaining my dream with apparent ease, and a part of me gets sick when I witness it. Don’t be fooled when I up the ante. With such a large family, I have little trouble posting pictures of joy rather than sadness in our home. This isn’t to say that we don’t have our struggles.
My heart breaks. I struggle with complex family turmoil. I’ve fallen out of relationships and do not have solutions to how to get them back. The good life has not come as easily as with some of my friends. I envy those who do not struggle with the same heartache that I struggle.
But you know what helps? Viewing envy as a sin rather than a reality. It’s a switch in my judgment that I make often, bringing me back to contentment and joy. Honestly, if your family life has come easy, I couldn’t be happier for you. If I fall into a dark corner of envy, that is a fault of mine, not yours.
The second doubt, untruth, sinks in deeper. It is the most unmerciful of my three doubts. I believe in love for God and love for others, but my belief seems to have cost me so, so much. Could it be that love is a lie? Perhaps my desire for the good life is only my own self-centered, narcissistic fantasy. Maybe I did not want the best for my family; I wanted the best for me.
I hesitate to write these untruths off so easily. Untruths may be sinister—seeking only to destroy any hope for a good life—but they hold selfishly to truths I need to accept. For me, I’ve had to wrestle with legalism, the drastic consequences of patriarchy, and even shortcomings of good and wholesome paths like home education. These untruths carry some healthy benefits to the good life, but they can too easily be twisted into an ugly reality that can do great damage to a family.
That’s when hopelessness sets in. Is this my “good” life, really? It has not been easy. It has been hard raising 16 children, and I’m not even half way through. Envy is a sin, untruth is a rational lie, but hopelessness? Hopelessness is the most difficult to brush off. It leaves me disillusioned and afraid.
I apologize if this is a rather dark post. I’m not trying to let anyone down, just trying to be real. If anything is true about my darkness it is this: it usually hides deeper truth. If anything, my post will help someone else who struggles in the same way.
If that is you, welcome to the good life. I do believe there are answers in our darkness.