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Envy, stupidity, revelation and life

I spent the weekend with a dear friend, whom I've known for 30+ years. I count her as one of the dearest people in my life - one of those people that I KNOW I could call at 3 a.m. and whatever I needed, she'd respond.

She is a mighty talented woman, and makes her living through her creative gifts, with the luxury of being able to work out of her home. She lives with extended family (what a treasure, in this day and age!), and has two gorgeous and gifted daughters. Her home is lovely, tastefully appointed, warm and inviting.

I used to be really jealous of her.

My home is often chaotic, and usually a mess. I can never quite get things caught up: there is always laundry, dishes, and cat fur to contend with. I live with "good enough". My focus and energy get drained very quickly from the demands of my job, the needs of my children and my health issues. When I (stupidly) compared my life to my friend's, I always came out on the losing end.

And then, last fall, very unexpectedly, her husband died. Her world - lovely as it was - crashed down around her.

Oh, she still has the lovely house, her in-laws and daughters, her talents and gifts, but the love of her life is gone. There is a hole punched clean through the middle of her existence.

I realized how stupid I had been, and how petty my jealousy was.

Or do you suppose that the scripture speaks without meaning when it says, 
“The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy”?
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:
“God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. - James 4:5-8

We don't necessarily think of jealousy being borne of pride, but that is exactly what it is. Pride makes us think we deserve something we don't have, that we are owed some material possession or accolade. When we see that someone else has it, we are jealous. 

It is of course also a profound lack of gratitude. It is here that I recognized it. When my friend lost her husband, it made me so grateful that mine is still here, every day, through the messes that surround us. When I was seeing what she had, I was missing what I had been given by God.

It is stupid and sinful to be envious of others. How much better to realize that God has given each one of us amazing gifts, talents, joys and an abundance of His grace. We should all do well to focus our energies on gratitude, and not jealousy.

Comments

  1. My confessor just told me that whenever we compare ourselves to another, we have taken our eyes off Christ

    ReplyDelete

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.