Monday, August 9, 2010

Green eyes. Monday, August 9, 2010.

“Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.” ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

The last few weeks have been full of parties and picnics, and lots of opportunities for me to compare my inside with other peoples’ outsides.

It gives me great shame to admit it, but over the past couple of years I have become a terribly envious person.

Please understand that it wasn’t always so. Just a few years ago when I went to my high school reunion, I came away feeling very fortunate. There was no one there I wanted to be like, no one there whose looks or job or belongings I coveted. I remember calling up my mom and telling her how seeing all those boring people made me feel so blessed to be living my life, with my little family in my little house and our little church.

What a change a Recession makes – not to mention a major depressive episode. Now that I no longer feel financially secure as I did before, and now that I no longer trust my bipolar to stay at bay, everyone else’s lives appear to be idyllic. Most of my extended family and friends happen to be in fields not greatly affected by the Recession, and – to my knowledge, anyway – none of them suffers from a serious mental illness.

I’m even envious spiritually. My encounter with rehabilitating depression and suicide has made God feel very far away. When I read a testimonial or hear someone talk about how they feel like they are basking in God’s love, my green-eyed monster comes out, claws exposed. How dare God allow them to experience the Holy Spirit so profoundly, when I feel like my prayers are floating into the ether? It’s not fair!

I understand how damaging envy is. There’s a reason why it’s one of the seven deadly sins. The great poets, philosophers and spiritual leaders all had plenty to say about envy. And intellectually, so do I. I know that the people I envy probably have problems – different from mine, but problems nonetheless; some of these people could be acting happy but could actually be in pain.

And I know that envy will eat me up inside if I let it. Lord, help me be rid of this vice. It sucks.

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