Social media is infamous for many things, one of them being that it only shows the highlight reel of people’s lives. Folks are driving themselves into depression because they play the comparison game with the lifestyles they see on Instagram and Facebook. They are too busy looking at others rather than working on themselves. These people say “I’ll never have a life like that.” If anyone is guilty of this, it is definitely me.

In those moments, I have to be reminded to look for gratitude and not complaints. Thankfully, I live with two people who with lead with joy. In a life with twenty-two years worth of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and far from perfect situations, my mom and brother always find a reason to smile. Taking care of an adult with disabilities is hard and I would not recommend this lifestyle to anyone. But moments like what you see here in this picture, moments where I get my brother Nathaniel to laugh because I said the word “fartwad”, makes it all worth it.

There is a real possibility of a day when it is just Nathaniel and I. Hopefully, it will be many decades from now. Maybe I will have to rearrange my work and travel schedule. Perhaps I will get help from family and friends, who knows? It is easy to overwhelm yourself with this kind of worrying, especially when you throw in the comparison game as a side order.

Occasionally I will worry about the future. I wonder if I will ever be successful and achieve my dreams. Some people might see Nathaniel as a burden to those goals. The truth which has been shown to me is Nathaniel does nothing but bring character and joy into my existence. Nathaniel brings character when taking care of him gets messy and joy in the fun times. When I allow myself to calm down, be thankful, and look at my life from a different perspective, I realize how truly blessed I am. Is my life exactly where I want to be? No, far from it. But I am on my way there, thanks to the help of my mom and brother.

You probably have “burdens” and “less than perfect” situations in your life too. My prayer is you will be able to find passion in the pain of your life. Take what could be holding your back and use it to push you forward. Choose gratitude over complaining every time. Live with freedom rather than feeling like you are trapped. Never believe the lie that you have to choose between your dreams and your responsibilities. Find a way to do both and you will tell a beautiful story with your life.