"It's not fair! She always gets invited to sleepovers." I could see the green ooze rising up in child Q's eyes as she spewed forth her injustice.
"Not true," I said. "You were just at a sleepover a few weeks ago, and you certainly have been to more birthday parties than your sister."
I could see, by child Q's pursed lips, scrunched nose, and squinted eyes that my opening arguments were not going to win the case. In her mind, an injustice was done. And there was no way to rectify it.
Ah jealousy. It creeps up on us. Twists our thoughts. Grabs hold of our hearts. I can see it clearly when it glows green in the eyes of the little women in my life, but what about when the green ooze rises up in me? It's hard to see with green goop in my eyes, so I don't notice it at first. But for me, this is generally how it goes.
"You got your book published? How wonderful!" I say to the smiling author.
She beams back at me, displaying a full set of perfectly whitened teeth and sporting a California tan.
I grumble inside. She's just too perky. I bet that little perky personality landed her that book deal. I bet she doesn't have any kids at home either, or her perfect husband sent her off to some remote beach house with a blessing spoken through shining white teeth, "Go ahead, Darling. I'll make dinner, help the kids with their homework, and even do the laundry while you're away. Don't you worry about a thing. And, Sweetheart, feel free to stay until your book's written . . . from the dedication to the epilogue." (And believe me, I've had worse thoughts, but one can't write such things on blogs about redemption—lest you think I haven't been redeemed. ;)
Yep, the green-eyed monster gets me sometimes, and when I finally take a peek in the mirror, I hardly recognize myself. It's U-G-L-Y!
|Imagine courtesy of Xedos4/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
So how do I slay this monster? I begin by praying for my victim—the one I thought all of those nasty thoughts about. I pray for her success. Then I think, Maybe that book deal has taken her years of blood, sweat, and tears. Maybe underneath all her pretty teeth is a person who has tasted pain far greater than I've ever experienced. What if her husband or child died tomorrow? Would I still be jealous? Do I really want her life? Or mine?
And somehow, I don't feel so jealous anymore.
The morning after the sleepover was dreary. The sister's eyes were heavy with fever. She had missed the sleepover.
Child Q sat eating her cereal, healthy and strong. And I, having lived a few more years, having had to slay a few more green-eyed monsters, took the time to pass along my hard-earned wisdom. “Hey kiddo, let me tell you a story about how I once raised my sword and slayed a green-eyed monster.”