maybe that should have been c-o-v-e-t-o-r… or maybe c-o-v-e-t-u-e-s-e…
speaking of that, my son asked me the other day if a person who gives professional massages is called a massag-enist. can’t beat kids for pure humor!
but, back to my bad character traits.
i couldn’t rattle off the top ten sins (or even the 7 deadly ones) without some serious pondering on my part. i am certainly familiar with them, and the one i am really struggling with right now is coveting.
coveting what someone else has is about as productive as coveting their arms. no, i would never give up my own arms- i just want someone else’s arms in addition to my own. i want what i have plus what they have plus what i think they have. they have outward marital bliss: i want that. they are comfortable materially: i want that. they have great kids: i want them too.
i never think of it as a trade-off. like the person with the great marriage lost her parents at a young age and just lost her brother to cancer. or the wealthy person also has a spouse who is an alcoholic and smacks her around. i just want the cream on top of their cake. i just want what my illusion is about their life.
but i would certainly never give up my own stuff to get it.
so, i am the kid who wants everyone else’s marbles and then has her pockets tear on the way home from school (because they are overstuffed) and they all spill on the ground.
i am the doctor’s wife who is a kleptomaniac and steals 59 cent chewing gum even though she lives in a mansion.
i am the good friend who is happy for my friends but secretly has to fight with my own jealousy over her whatever.
3rd arm, 3rd arm, 3rd arm… can’t use it, don’t need it, and not meant to have it.
it could even get in my way and cause me significant stress and agony.
but uuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh- i’m still in the grip of the green-eyed monster.
i really do believe that i have the unique tools and abilities to do my job in this world (whatever that may be).
i think that i am given the challenges and opportunities for growth that i need to develop my character.
there is a story about a man who goes on a long journey. he collects together many diamonds, so that he can use them for trade and to buy supplies in the new land he will be visiting.
when he gets there, he goes to the local market and attempts to barter diamonds for a warm coat. the shopkeeper laughs in his face and tells him that the island where he has landed is littered with diamonds. the beaches are so covered in diamonds that they are worse than useless- they are a source of aggravation to the locals.
the man goes down to the beach, and sure enough, he sees thousands upon thousands of diamonds. local kids hurl them into the sea. local adults kick them aside as they walk.
confused, he goes back to the market and asks what the currency is in this strange place.
“onions!” replies the shopkeeper, astounded that someone would not know such a basic fact.
this parable has several explanations, but the one that i will use is that each “place” has its own currency. each stage of life demands its own wealth. the currency of my life is as worthless to someone else as diamonds were to the shopkeeper on the island. and if i try to use someone else’s resources, i am trying to pay with diamonds in a place that needs onions.
so, i know these things intellectually.
i even feel the truth of these things in my gut.
but i continue to struggle to be happy and content and satisfied with my lot.
ugh- to be a human being…