The Other Side of the Coin
In a comment to this post, Semgirl expressed the difficulties in spending Shabbos with one's family, even when they are frum. It's something that's easy to forget when your family isn't frum. It's easy to focus on the fact that you have to spend all the holidays away from your family, that you don't get a brocha from your parents on Friday night, and that you constantly have to find places for Shabbos meals. That when you are with your family for Shabbos or a Yom Tov, it is really difficult. But there certainly are challenges to being "frum from birth" as well that I realize I don't have to deal with. The pressure to conform, to get married at a young age, to live up to standards. I know I live in a fish bowl, being the frum community, but I am sure it would be much worse if I had my family there also, always on the lookout for what I am doing wrong, being a reflection on others rather than just myself. It's hard to remember how good you have it sometimes. To look on the positive side, to see things through another person's perspective and realize that your challenges are your own, and that there are many other challenges you don't deal with. That doesn't make your challenges less difficult, or less real, but you do realize that there are a lot of things that aren't so hard either. And hopefully that makes you better able to deal with the things you have to deal with. As hard as I sometimes feel life is, I know that I have been blessed with a lot also. Many of the trials I hear about other people going through are things that I am not sure I could handle, emotionally or mentally. And Hashem hasn't given me those things to deal with, as an incredible kindness to me. I hate that this realization comes by having my eyes opened to the struggles of others, it doesn't seem right. But I guess it is good if it gives one perspective and empathy for others. And an appreciation for the things you do have.