It can be deceiving. Ice on a pond. One quick glimpse out the upstairs window will have you believe that you have your own personal ice rink. It appears that the entire surface of the water is one solid piece of ice. That gleaning sheet even supports the weight of your ducks. Leaves are blowing and sliding across the flawless smoothness, not a drop of water to touch them. You walk outside, brave the wind and cold, to get a better look. Upon closer inspection, realizing that appearances are often deceiving. A single, tiny movement from a duck’s foot causes a small portion of the surface to break. He dives in, triggering a little more to chip off into the icy water, in his excitement to get to the keeper of the food. He swims and swims in this new pool that he has created, but it is just a mere fraction of what he is used to. He is confused at the wonder as well. It is also his first frozen pond experience.
So often in life, we can be deceived by appearances. Things look perfect, flawless.
It is so easy to be led astray by our perception of the successes of others. On first observation, everything looks so right, it leaves us wondering about ourselves…
”What is wrong with me?”
One quick glance at their smiling family in public or scrolling through their social media feeds, you would think “wow, they have it ALL.” The comparison can lead you to miss what you do have because you get misguided into thinking there is something different, better, that you are lacking.
“What am I doing wrong?”
Nothing my friend. Nothing.
Like an ocean in the desert, it can be a mirage.
What you are seeing is just a snippet, a snapshot of the life of another. People focus on putting their best foot forward and tend to hide their struggles and inadequacies. No one wants to announce to the world, “HEY!!! Look at all the things I CAN’T do.”
Imagine for a moment that everyone could just be real, honest, true about themselves. Think how much better we could be FOR each other. Toss aside the comparisons, gather together in the solidarity of knowing that none of us truly has it all together. Think of how much better the honesty of others could be for you. We all struggle, sometimes in similar ways, other times different. We all have our issues, our demons. Each of us is flawed. No one truly has “it all.”
My pond is not an ice skating rink. It is not solid. It has holes. You will fall in if you try to step on the surface. I need you to know that. I want you to know that. I WANT you to know that my life is far from perfect. I cry sometimes. I get lonely. I feel like a complete failure a lot…even if my family pictures are only of happy people, smiling, baking, hiking, reading, drawing. That’s my best foot forward, friend. I don’t post pictures of my eye-roll as I secretly contemplate tossing my child’s Barbie (who is not an actual “Barbie”) into the pond because she has brought me Barbie doll clothes to dress this BARBIE close to 20 times in a row in the last 30 seconds. Did you know that Barbie clothes don’t fit on NON-Barbie dolls? If you have young girls, I bet you do. That would probably be a much better picture AND would let you know that you are not alone in your struggles to continually be asked to make impossible things happen.
My words, my poems, may be written about overcoming obstacles, drawing strength and courage from God, and shining a light on others, but guess what, friend…I write those words as a reminder and an encouragement to MYSELF. I do NOT have it figured out.
Not even almost.
You are not alone. Please don’t be afraid to be real, be raw, be vulnerable, and find someone you can open up to and say, “me too.” You don’t have to share all your secrets, but you also don’t have to be fearful to admit that you have some broken pieces. We all do. Don’t judge who you are by how others appear. Their life may look perfect, peering through their front porch windows or gazing at their social media feeds, but you don’t know what goes on behind closed shades and computer screens. You never know where the weak spot is on the surface of their pond.