It’s a terrible thing indeed to be ruled by the green of jealousy. I grew up in a home where both my parents suffered from this wound. I remember going out with them, meeting people, the forced polite comments and the pretending over someone’s good fortunes. But I remember also, once we returned home, the roiling that went on endlessly. They seemed to live in an eternal fire. As a result, I learned early on to fear any good news coming from other people because of the effect that would have on my parents. They just couldn’t be happy for anyone. My mother always excused such reactions by blaming her difficult life, how much harder it had been for her than for anyone else and that it wasn’t fair that she had to still endure so much and yet receive so few blessings from God. Inevitably, it would all wind back to me. I was the blockage that prevented God’s blessings from coming through, because I wasn’t sufficiently smart, diligent or pretty to bring her the fame and glory that others had.
This morning, my thoughts went back to that reliable stand-by: that our jealousies should be excused because of our sufferings, because we have far less than others. It is very convenient, isn’t it, to blame personal hardship for our inability to join our hearts to the joys of our friends and loved ones.
But we can’t all have the same kisses from heaven, can we? If we were to argue that we deserve to be blessed the same way others are, then it also means we ought to receive their crosses too. Yet, we grind to a halt there. We want the good others have but none of their pain.
It makes for a very sad and unpleasant life, being chained to this demon that never dies. To look at skies blue and gold and yet not see it. To watch the winds sing their hymns as they play among trees and blooms, but not hear a single note because we live in the demon’s lair where another’s happiness is our worst pain.
Today, I read the words of my friend, Ann, that we pray for those suffering from jealousy. Some days I can. But some days, the remembered pain is just too close. Today is one of those days. Today, I am a little hard of heart. I tell myself I will not be hypocritical and pray a prayer I do not mean for those who have hurt me and who continue to hurt me in this way.
Still, Ann’s words hover gently nearby. How do I love? I finally ask myself.
Then, ever so lightly I sense the angel speak, “You do not have to name them.”
And just like that, the prayer slips forth with ease.