Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Beyond Jealousy

It is time to repent. Of jealousy. A major impediment to growth in my life. Should be spelled...'gee lousy', I think. Stinkin' thinkin' as my AA friends say. So petty. So puerile. So petulant.

So I'm confessing jealousy:

Resentment of those born into conventional religious backgrounds. The so-called 'normal'. Those who didn't have to perpetually explain the eccentricities of their churches. Time now to celebrate the gifts of my unique heritage. Time to honour the struggle which has birthed in me a broader, deeper spiritual understanding. Time to let this petty jealousy go. Forever.

Jealousy of the genetically thin. Good grief. I've hated them on sight, (not you Stephanie). But I've sacrificed potential friendships. And I've spent fifty years covering up my arms. How I have sweltered for my sins!!! Having taken a realistic look at those arms, I'm wearing sleeveless tops for the first time in my life. Cool. Enough. Let my next new friend be thin or plump. This no longer matters.

Distrust of those whose business, organizational, relational and technical skills help them to forward their careers, get grants for projects. GET PUBLISHED. If any of this can be learned late in life, let me learn it. Let me find people who can help me with the things I'm not good at. Dear God, release me from reverse snobbery, the secret belief that it is a virtue to be incompetent in business. I declare this as the lie it is.

Downright envy of the rich. Crass covetousness. Special resentment of those who have money and no taste. I have achieved miracles with no money, basic skills and a good eye!!! Relative poverty has been an incentive to creativity. I don't need to drag others into the equation at all. Still, I would love to be able to afford to pay someone to paint the endless dark trim in Dawsonwood Cottage. And that's okay.

I regret that my mostly silent jealousy may have hurt my family. I've given pain to my husband, who celebrates abundance and accepts rather than regrets reality. I've provided a negative role model for my children. Let my pettiness not be perpetuated into the next generation.

Henri Nouwen's thoughts on the story of the prodigal son/daughter have been seminal for me this past week (click on title above). Here is his salutary thinking:

Jealousy arises easily in our hearts. In the parable of the prodigal son, the elder son is jealous that his younger brother gets such a royal welcome even though he and his loose women swallowed up his father's property (Luke 15:30). And in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, the workers who worked the whole day are jealous that those who came at the eleventh hour receive the same pay as they did (see Matthew 20:1-16). But the Father says to the older son: "You are with me always and all I have is yours" (Luke 15:31). And the landowner says: "Why should you be envious because I am generous?" (Matthew 20:15).

When we truly enjoy God's unlimited generosity, we will be grateful for what our brothers and sisters receive. Jealousy will simply have no place in our hearts.

3 comments:

daisymarie said...

Powerfully written.
Powerfull impact on my heart.
Bless you, coz you sure blessed me.

bobbie said...

deep thoughts connie - i adore your honesty and am moved to it myself by your admissions. i struggle with so many of the similar ones you mention.

the depth of these blended with your wonderful humor was so refreshing and took each of them deeper into my soul.

i love james 5:16 - confess our sins to each other, pray for each other and we will be healed. i will pray for you connie - will you pray for me in these too?

Lorna said...

loved this Connie. What is confessed is forgiven. You are freed to live life to the full :)