Friday, September 27, 2013

That Green-Eyed Monster





Have you ever encountered that “green-eyed monster” called jealousy or envy?  I have, plenty of times; in fact, more times that I want to admit. This ‘deadly sin”, as it was called by the dear nuns who taught me in school, can literally rob a person of joy and peace. It certainly causes a lot of distress in life. I’ve been on both ends….one who felt jealous or envious, and in recent months, one who has caused others to feel jealous or envious of me. Neither end of the spectrum is a pleasant or healthy place to be.

 

I thought a lot of about jealousy on my drive in to work yesterday because it was very foggy, not like the brief, unexpected fog like I wrote about last week, but a more wide-spread, very heavy fog. In fact, many of the local schools were delayed and/or closed, but I arrived safely and all is well. Last week, I left work and the sun was shining and the parking lot was dry. It was a beautiful afternoon.  Less than 3 miles down the road, however, it was pouring down rain.  It wasn’t even supposed to rain at all that day…and yet, here it was…pouring.  Almost as quickly as I drove into the rain, I drove out of it. It was literally like a line….it was pouring on one side of the street and the sun was shining on the other.  The fog was kind of like that on and off yesterday.  It was clear and calm and the sun was beginning to rise…and then….it was so foggy that I couldn’t see in front of me….then it was completely clear again…and then foggy.  The periods of fog grew longer but were always followed by periods of clear, smooth sailing. Just odd Michigan weather….but in a way….like life.  But…the fog, and also the weird rain situation last week, did cause me to ponder jealousy and to take a closer look at my life.

Sometimes it seems like it is always RAINING (troubles, hardships, sickness…whatever) in our life and the sun is always SHINING (financial prosperity, good health, good looks, great kids, good education….whatever) on others.  WHY US?  WHY THEM? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you had a big cloud of darkness hanging over your head?  Maybe you wondered why “things always happen to me” and “why can’t I EVER GET A BREAK” or “Come on, God, how MUCH MORE do you think I can handle?”  Perhaps you’ve looked at your neighbors, friends, or family members and wondered….”what’s so great about them; why does everything go well for them when I have to struggle”.  Someone is always richer, prettier, smarter, healthier…SKINNIER.  Why them and not me????   Maybe you’ve muttered… “yeah, sure, I’d have a great marriage or relationship too if my spouse DID that…or treated me like that….or made that much money… OR whatever.”  Maybe it’s your kids…. ‘sure, my kid would be the smartest one in school if I didn’t have to go to work and sit and read to them all day when they were little’ or “the only reason he/she is on the team is because his/her grandmother is on the school board or they have more money or……”.  You get the drift. Likely, we’ve all been there at one time or another. Maybe we’re there now. 

 

Maybe we are really jealous of those around us that seem to be able to lose weight easier or faster than us. “Well…yeah, sure, they can afford to go to a gym….or “did you see how much it costs for fruit and produce; all I can afford is macaroni and cheese or Hamburger Helper”.  Maybe you’ve thought, “I could lose weight too if I didn’t have the GENES from my plump grandma or I didn’t have to cook for my family.”  That maybes are endless.  Whatever the case, it’s easy to feel jealous of others who are further along on the journey or appear to have an easier time sticking to a plan. I’ve been jealous….many times….and have also had strained relationships/friendships because of my situation now.  I’ve even heard someone say that it isn’t “fair” that God gave me this miracle and not them. Secretly, I’m sure there are some that are even hoping/waiting for me to put the weight back on.  Again…not a pleasant feeling…either end.

 

One of the biggest things that jealousy can do, other than destroy relationships, is rob us of our joy. Sometimes we spend so much energy focusing on “what others have that we don’t” that we fail to recognize all that we DO have. It changes our mindset from one of gratitude to one of resentment and can cripple us on our journey.  I wish I knew how to avoid that green-eyed monster, but just like all temptations we face, it’s one that we have a choice about. It’s not easy….in fact, it’s down-right hard….but if I/we truly want to be peaceful and enjoy wellness, I/we must continually look around at all the blessings that are given to me on a daily basis and learn to say, “THANK YOU GOD” for all things….even those periods of intense fog/rain (troubles/hardships/struggles/sadness/temptation/sickness). Or… I/we can pull off the side of the road in this journey called LIFE and just sit and wallow in the rain or misery and do nothing, but if I/we choose to do that, I/we’ll miss the sunshine that is lurking just up ahead. 

What kind of day are you going to CHOOSE to have?  Are you going to be grateful or envious?  Are you going to keep forging ahead through the fog and rain….or just sit and wallow in it. Today….I am going to strive for gratitude. I put on clothes that I purchased at the Thrift Store….but they fit and look good!  I drove my 13 year old car to work yesterday….but it started! I have to work at the “other campus” today……but I have a job!  I’m tired this morning….but it’s FRIDAY and I have the weekend off. I ate boring oatmeal instead of a cream-filled donut for breakfast…but it was nourishing and didn’t cause guilt. My life isn’t perfect…..but it certainly is great to be alive!    You may not be as thin…or as rich…or as healthy…or as happy as you’d like to be……but hopefully you are making progress….and you certainly aren’t as bad as you could be.  Make it a great day everyone!