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  • Writer's pictureJim Donaher

You Ain't Them

Everyone has their struggles. Be Kind.

Many of us spend our days comparing. Some are quiet about it, others more vocal. We compare ourselves and our situations to those of others. Some always find that their situation is 'better' than someone else's. Others despair or become envious of others, seeing their own situation as 'miserable,' while others have it 'easy.'

In real life, no one has it easy. Everyone has their bag of trash they carry around. Some bags are bigger than others, while others, though small in size contain a particularly fetid collection of refuse they would gladly trade for someone else's bag.

There was a story this week about Mike Trout, a 27-year-old baseball player, who signed the richest sports contract in history, a 12-year, $430 million deal.

The knee-jerk response of some was, 'He'll never have to worry again. He's got it made.' Others jeered, 'Nobody is worth that kind of money. He plays a child's game!'

Some others might even suggest that they could do what he does, ignoring the years and the hours of work, as well as God-given talent, skill and mindset, it takes to be a great ballplayer. This ain't the batting cages at the amusement park. You ain't him.

So, does Mike Trout have it easy? In some ways, sure. He need not worry about having enough money. But you realize that the reactions described earlier won't go away. At best, they'll fade if he plays well. But jealousy, team rooting interests and a myriad of other things will make him a target of fans, media and even some teammates, family and friends.

Last year, he was 'just' a great, young ballplayer. This year, he's a marked man. Any day, he may fail to live up to the expectations that kind of money comes with. It's baseball, after all, where the great hitters still fail 2/3 of the time.

Assuming that Trout cares about any of this, and being human, he probably cares a lot, this is part of his bag of trash. He could stand outside the park for 2 hours signing autographs and taking selfies with fans and when he finally has to leave, someone who didn't get one will blame him for being selfish with his time, because of the money.

Not fair, obviously. But Regular Guy, the disappointed fan doesn't think it's fair that this young guy has so much money, so many cool perks, while he will have to schlep to the subway, ride it to the suburb where he parked, drive the family in his 12 year old car home and still go to work the next morning. All because he took his family out to the ball game that was crazy expensive, due in part to salaries like Trout's.

Trout probably knows he is blessed, and maybe he gives tons of money and time to worthy causes. Maybe he embodies the idea of 'to whom much is given, much is expected.' The weight of expectations is heavy indeed.

See? I told you at the start that we compare. Now I am comparing the richest athlete in the world with Regular Guy (yes, that's his name) whose bag of trash is more familiar to most of us. We can relate to R.G.'s bag. The bag that, if given the chance, we'd trade with Mike Trout in a nanosecond, despite having no concept of what it is like to be him or what's in his bag. I know, you're thinking, 'I'll take my chances.'

Okay, now think of someone else who is rich and famous. Robert Kraft. R. Kelly. Lori Loughlin. Harvey Weinstein. Tom Brady. If Regular Guy did what these rich, famous people did or are accused of doing, would anyone care? Would it be front page news? Nah. Of course, there are likely consequences to his behavior, possibly including the loss of his family, job, reputation, resources and even his freedom. He would not, however, be the target of the 24/7 media talking incessantly, and unkindly, about him.

Now assume you are one of those people and you were wrongly accused. Imagine being innocent. And while you obviously say you're innocent, no one really believes you. 'What else are they gonna say?' says Regular Guy and his wife, Regular Gal. By the time your innocence is proven, the damage is already done.

You can't go out, it could be dangerous. If you do risk it, cameras and yelling crowds and questions and maybe protesters show up saying all kinds of awful things. Maybe your spouse or your kids are with you. They get to hear it too. The mob might even yell terrible things at your kids. You find that you have no right to privacy, especially if you are presumed guilty. You're not just a bad person. You're a bad, rich, famous person. Not 'regular.'

In the end, God is going to want to know what you did with what you were given. And yes, to whom much was given, much is expected.

But He won't compare you with Mike Trout or Regular Guy or Moses or Joe DiMaggio or Gilbert Gottfried or Mother Teresa or Larry Bird or Kevin Flaherty from down the corner. God gave them different talents, and He will judge them on their faith and how that faith was put into action.

The parable of the talents describes how God looks at our service. Did we use them and enhance them, or did we bury them in fear and disbelief?

Figure out your talents. Work to develop them. Use them. Give to the world, that which only you can give. You were created, uniquely, to contribute your voice to the song of the world. Just sing it, and don't compare yourself to others, because God doesn't and won't. He loves you for you. Even if no one else likes your singing, He loves it.

When you try to tell God how you didn't have what you needed and someone else did, he might reply, 'But You Ain't Them.'

God bless you.

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