Hey Jealousy

I know you are probably expecting this to be a blog about the Gin Blossom’s “Hey Jealousy”. I’m sorry to disappoint you. No, this is a blog about struggling with feelings of jealousy…

Last night, while reading Shauna Niequist‘s book, Bread & Wine, I found myself being overcome by feelings of jealousy.

The book really is a wonderful read. Lots of keen insight on the beauty of gathering together at the table. Throughout my reading, I’ve been reminded of the numerous memories that involve food, pints, family, and friends. Throughout most of the book, I’ve fallen somewhere between nostalgic and inspired to create new memories around the table.

However, last night I was hit right between the eyes with an overwhelming sense of jealousy.

Niequist’s life stories involve world travel, growing up splitting time between the wealthy Chicago suburb’s where her father’s humongous church is located and spending summer’s “at the lake” in Southwest Michigan. Last night, as I was reading about having to reschedule trips to Rome and settle for time in a fancy hotel in Chicago, I found myself thinking, “Man, I wish I had those problems.”

Now, there is so much more to the story…but this is how I found myself feeling. Jealous.

You see, I like to whine and complain about what I don’t have…for example: a lot of money, a Harley Davidson, a Taylor 812ce, a Rickenbacker 360, a cabin in the woods, you get the picture.

And, while I’m busy whining and complaining, I fail to celebrate what I do have…for example: a beautiful, kind, caring, intelligent, and healthy wife, two amazing and healthy children, an incredible family, awesome friends, a great “job”, a wonderful church, easy access to People’s Brewing Company!

So, last night, I found myself jealous as I read about world travel, celebrations in South Haven, and gatherings with Christian “celebrities” like Shane Claiborne. Therefore, I felt justified in my jealousy…

Until I looked out the window and watched the sun slowly setting just behind the tree line at the back of my neighborhood. And, I found myself being thankful…for my wife and kids, for my extended family, for my friends, for my church, for the delicious pint of People’s Space Cowboy, for Shauna Niequist’s book that’s reminding me to create memories around the table, for shelter, for food, for transportation, for all the things I so easily take for granted.

And, as I continued to read, I came across stories of pain, suffering, and struggle. While Niequist may have enjoyed a certain amount of privilege, she has not been free from loss, from hurt, from doubt.

I was reminded that, while I may not have it “as good as some people”, I’ve got it a lot better than most. In many ways, I grew up a child of privilege. I never really “wanted for” anything (which is probably why I struggle so much when I don’t get what I want…like a Harley, a Taylor, a Rickenbaker, a cabin in the woods). My parents did their best to provide for our family.

So, now, when I’m overcome with a sense of jealousy, I’ll remind myself that no one has a perfect life. I’ll remind myself of and give thanks for what I do have…which is more than I need or deserve…because I’ve found that when I pause to reflect on what I have, those feelings of jealousy seem to quickly fade.

And, because some of you are disappointed that this was not a blog about the Gin Blossom’s, well…here you go: