The spring day begged for the group of ladies to burst out of the living room where they were chit-chatting and romp on the lawn in front of the beautiful house where they had met. A discussion had begun about some topic but the mind of the outsider couldn’t stay put. She thought it was under her breath but quickly found out that she had indeed uttered the words loud enough for everyone to hear them for the room had grown suddenly quiet and all eyes were on her. She had only intended to observe and enjoy some conversation in English. She wasn’t going to be in town for long before she went back to the country where she lived as a missionary so she wanted everything to be as pleasant as possible.
Evidently not everyone had heard her clearly for some of the faces wore a curious look and one of the bolder mouths had already asked, “What did you just say?”
Squirming a bit in her outdated jacket she repeated her sentence dreading the response, “Sometimes I just wish I could be a nice little wife who keeps house and has a garage with a car in it.”
Disheartened she bounced her baby to distract the group. The shock and confusion of the ladies confirmed her fears. What she heard next was a searing surprise. Maybe at first it stung, but later the words would point her in a new direction.
“Well, sometimes I just wish I could hold orphans all day.” The frank words preceded a welcomed change in subject.
The girl had never even considered before that there might be other people who envied her. Years later as she looked back on the experience she could see that the condition of her life was not the determining factor for the operation of envy in her heart. Rather it was a choice of focus.
Webster’s has a great definition of the verb envy:
EN’VY, v.t. [L. invideo, in and video, to see against, that is, to look with enmity.] To feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another; to repine at another’s prosperity; to fret or grieve one’s self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account.
Acts 7:9 says, “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt…” What has envy moved me to do? What have I lost as a result of allowing envy in my life? And the most important question: what now? Through this exploration of my soul I am finding that an “envy free” life is possible. My next and final post on the topic of envy will attempt to paint an image of an envy free life-style.