Monday, January 31, 2011

Confessions! The green-eyed monster

(I wish this pumpkin were green to match this post better, but it does capture the emotion well, don't you think?)

The question for today is:

What is one emotion that you could do without?

My first instinct is to quickly shout "Anger!"
Anger is that scream vibrating at the bottom of my throat when no one listens to me. Anger is the fire burning in the pit of my stomach in the middle of a fight. It is frustration and forehead smacking and growling and slamming and stomping.
But anger isn't totally useless.
Anger makes me strong when I am terrified. (I once charged the Artist with a laundry basket when he did a great impersonation of an intruder sneaking into our house at midnight through the sliding glass door.)
Anger makes me fight. This is both blessing and curse. I shouldn't fight my loved ones, but I do want to fight injustice and evil.
Anger is horrible, but anger is strong. I can take that potent emotion and subdue it and master it and let it motivate me to stand up for myself and the people I love.
But there is one emotion that is flat-out useless. Completely and absolutely without merit.


Jealousy doesn't motivate or embolden. Jealousy makes me small and weak and miserable. Jealousy is downright embarrassing. No wonder it made God's top ten list of commandments. Coveting is ugly.
I felt envious of a woman (a friend) yesterday and it felt like swallowing spiritual sour milk. Just gross. So to cure myself of this toxic feeling I said inwardly, "just think of all the blessings you have." Actually, that is a half truth. (What a judicious way of saying big, fat lie!) What I really said is, "just think of all the blessings you have that she doesn't." I made a mental score sheet. I assumed that if God gave her gifts, somewhere, embedded in my soul, were different, but equal, gifts.
I was completely wrong. Lack of jealousy cannot come from a lack of ... lacking. I can't keep jealousy at bay by telling myself that I have more or I have better.
I think a lack of jealousy must come from a deep well of gratitude and a love of life. Not gratitude that I was given more than someone. Gratitude that I am a child of God, with the opportunity to feel and exist and try. Gratitude that I am still in the game, still learning and growing. Gratitude that even if I have the least skills, talents, beauty, wealth or possessions of all the people I know, the Savior still loved me enough, just as I am, to carry my sins and troubles on his precious shoulders.
I know that envy is an unattractive thing to admit. But I take hope in the fact that it bothers me so much- that I know better. I don't accept it from myself. I fight it.
Which brings me back to anger.
Good grief! I have got some work to do...

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