Last night, I had an interesting dream. The first part included espionage and I won't go into details about it but somehow in the process it landed me in Russia at a Mormon singles' conference. (For those not in the know, this is intended for people over the age of 30.)
So, there I am, sitting at a table at this conference, introducing people to my sisters and anxiously waiting for dinner to start. I look over and notice a blonde young man with sad eyes who rather looks like this.
Anyway, this kid's story was pretty impressive. When he was about 16, he had met some Mormon missionaries and became genuinely interested in changing his life around from the rascal life he was living before - we didn't go into details. Without the support of parents (his father had passed away and his mother was always working to support the family), he started making changes and joined the church. He continued to improve his life and graduated from high school and served a mission. Now, he was going to college - one of the first in his family. I was impressed by him. He was so good and doing so well.
So, why was he so sad? Then, he started telling more of his story. Back when he met the missionaries, he casually mentioned it to a friend. Before he knew it, that friend and that friend's entire family joined the church. The missionaries liked teaching the lonely sixteen year old boy but they LOVED teaching the entire family. And it seems, that's how things went from thereon out. No matter what he worked to accomplish, his friend did it better, with more people in awe who applauded the results. This boy changed his life around; the other's family entirely changed and were even sealed together and held prominent callings. This boy served a mission but nowhere near as "cool" as the friend. Essentially, this friend and the friend's family were as golden as you could get. As he told me his story, I watched his face with some sadness. Because he would never achieve the status of his friend, he believed that he was always a failure. The comparison and the feeling of failure from such comparison was destroying that beautiful soul of that young man that I somehow to admire in that short time.
I looked into his face and wanted to simultaneously hug him and shake him. Instead, I said, "I wish you could see yourself. You're amazing and you've accomplished so much. You've got to let your jealousy and hatred go. You're just hurting yourself by comparing yourself to this other family. You'll never see how far you've come that away. And you're just going to get eaten up inside with your jealousy."
And then, I woke up before I got to see his reaction. But in waking, I started to wonder if I needed to listen to my own words and take my own advice. Or if others do as well.