When I was a kid, The Brady Bunch was a major TV series. You can imagine how surprised I was to discover that my kids enjoyed watching Brady Bunch reruns.
During my childhood, a number of girls would have loved to trade places with Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady. She was pretty, a star on television, and seemed to have it made.
That is why I found it interesting to discover in her book Here’s The Story that her life was far from ideal. One example is the story of her mother.
As a teenager, Maureen learned a horrible family secret. Her grandmother (her mother's mother) had contracted syphilis from her grandfather, who had himself become infected with the disease while serving oversees during World War I. Maureen’s grandmother in turn passed along to her daughter, Maureen’s mother, during birth.
The disease necessitated that Maureen’s grandmother enter a mental institution where she died. One week later, her husband, Maureen’s granddad, committed suicide. Both were in their thirties.
These tragedies and her own case of syphilis took a terrible toll on Maureen’s mother. She was treated as an outcast in ways such as being given her own dishes and silverware, lest someone else (they thought) get infected. Throughout her childhood she was sent to experimental hospitals searching new treatments for the venereal disease. Although the treatments ultimately proved successful, Maureen’s mother still paid a price. As an adult she battled mental illness.
Learning of all of this as a young teenager, Maureen grew terrified that syphilis—and all of its side effects—had been passed down to her. In some of her famous crying scenes on the Brady Bunch, Maureen cried real tears. She never knew when she would have to surrender her career to disease, thus emotions churned beneath the surface.
So consider this: many of the girls envying Maureen McCormick were in fact living far more tranquil and happier lives.
Often, the people whose lives we covet are enduring far worse circumstances than we can ever imagine—yet another reason why we should find our contentment in Christ… and not in circumstances.
“… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil. 4:11b NIV.)