Wholesome Envy

Last night I attended the wedding of our families long time friends son, Josh.  My Mom & Josh’s Mom have been best friends since before we were born.  I was the first born of my family, Josh is the 4th.  He had 3 older sisters, all of whom got married in years (& months) prior.

Josh’s parents are John & Diane Nevers.  They are hard-working and traditional.  John has worked as an engineer for as long as I can remember.  Diane was a nurse but stopped working to raise her children.  They are devout Christians and very involved in their church.

Growing up, they invited us to every single church function:  vacation bible school, october carnival, and all the special holiday functions.  Sometimes we’d go, sometimes we wouldn’t.  Being raised by my parents, both of which were never really religious on such a saturated level, we’d often wonder what the Nevers family “got out of” being so wrapped up in religion & the church.

Throughout the years, after being raised Catholic, I had often struggled with my own spirituality & religious beliefs.  At times, I’d felt insecure around the Nevers family in all their Godly glory.  I perceived that they judged me & my life.  I perceived that they were secretly shaking their heads at all of my imperfect decisions.  But I’ve learned that that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Though we haven’t always been pillars of light, they’ve always treated my Mom & our family, like we’re a part of theirs. The Nevers family would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it.  I’ve never heard them gossip or pass judgment on anyone.

I’m convinced they are one of the last true wholesome families out there.  John & Diane raised all 5 of their kids on a single income.  And as far as I could tell, their kids never wanted for anything.  They were content with hand-me-downs from older siblings or friends.  Content with sharing bedrooms & bunkbeds.  Content with keeping their old television, mini-van, computer, etc. until they burned out.  Content without their kids having the latest & greatest video games, ipods, clothes, gadgets, fads, etc.  In other words, content without having to keep up with the Jones’.

They lived a simple life with simple by-laws.  And it worked.  They raised 5 wonderful kids.  They are sweet, caring, loving, and wholesome.  In fact, I have never heard them fight or bicker or say two mean words about anybody.  They don’t care about wanting to “get ahead” or to find jobs making gobs of money.  They just seem to have different goals & priorities.  They seem to make the world a better place by just being in it.

I may have felt insecure by their “simpleness” in the past.  Speculated on their true joy in life.  Questioned their achievements & contributions to this world…  but I finally “get it”.  And the truth is, now that I’m a parent, I want my children to be just like them.  Sweet.  Kind.  Caring.  Loving.  Simple. Beautiful.  I don’t want Gentry to be the popular jock in highschool who gets all the ladies,  I want him to be the quiet nerd in the corner who is kind to people before anything else.  Same with Haven, I want her to make the world a better place just by being in it.

I know that I will have to let my kids be who they are going to be but if I can somehow be the influence like John & Diane have been to their kids, I want to be.  I know it starts with becoming more spiritually rich myself & raising my kids to be too, and valuing ones neighbor and not possessions.

It’s so hard in this society of mass materialism.  It’s so hard not to lose focus of what the most important things are.  I’m going to try my best.

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