I’ve been putting off writing today because I haven’t been able to get my head around what should fall in the space between Fat Tuesday and Valentines other than Ashes.
Writing about ashes is a bit of a downer, so I did what most modern-day procrastinators do, I stalked the world on Facebook.
But today, Facebook seemed a bit of a downer too. The State of the Union Posts made me feel frustrated – why can’t we all just get along. The Ash Wednesday posts made me feel guilty- even though I love giving things up I hadn’t decided what to do yet for Lent. And all the early ‘I love you more than the universe’ valentines posts made me feel lonely- please take it to the bedroom and out of my newsfeed.
It became one of those days when it is hard not to compare lives, status, and achievement with those who seem to be doing things better than you are or appear to have what you want.
Then something caught my eye. A random and cryptic post from a friend offered these simple, yet brilliant words as if they were a message that I needed to hear:
“Keep your eyes on your own paper.”
Like me, you probably learned this lesson this as a kid in school right along side of the ‘golden rule’. If you’re looking at someone else’s paper you’re probably either cheating or comparing.
While copying off of a friend’s paper may have helped you pass a grade five math test, the grown up rules for comparing and copying have different stakes.
When we spend too much time admiring someone else’s life on paper rather than living out our own unique purpose, we cheat ourselves. We become discontent with what we’re doing, how we’re doing it or what we have.
I read once that we view the blooper reel of our own lives but compare it to the finely edited cinematic version of the lives of others.
The truth is we all have our blooper reel. We all want to be more than we are. We’re all pretty ordinary and amazing at the same time. And we’re all meant to write our own story on our very own page.
As you celebrate this day of ashes, remember to love your neighbor, but keep your eyes on your own paper.