First, here is an apple.
It is smooth and red.
It is heart-shaped.
You can bite right into it.
Its skin crunches, yielding quickly to your teeth.
It is firm. It is crisp.
Good job, apple.
Now, here is an orange.
It is not smooth. It is not red.
It is not heart-shaped.
You cannot bite right into it.
It makes you work to get what you want.
It is not firm. It is not crisp.
Bad job, orange.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Teddy Roosevelt
Poor orange. I’ve been thinking about him for days and I still feel sorry for him, hoping he will never, ever read this. And I’ve had this constant urge to go out and buy some oranges and just reassure them, tell them, “No, really, you’re all beautiful.” (And then eat them, savoring them joyfully, as is the natural order of things.)
Comparison is useful—but it’s not enough. It’s discernment that brings some wisdom to the picture, showing what’s most true, most important. It’s good to be able to tell things apart. But you need to know what a thing truly is, not just how it’s different from what’s around it. (Like when you’re standing in the bathroom and you want to brush your teeth, it’s important to know which long-handled white plastic stick with the bristles on the end you actually need, because there’s a big difference between a toothbrush and a toilet scrubber.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and it was just a good reminder, if only to myself, to look at everything for what it is—not what it isn’t.