I once heard that a priest admitted in all the years of hearing confessions, he had never once heard someone confess covetousness. That’s about to change…
While it certainly isn’t a dazzling virtue, it is my quiet vice. I have many vices, most of which are very visible to you (too visible for my liking), but the one that you don’t often see, the vice I often keep a secret and carry out in private is envy.
Envy is a quiet and subtle destroyer of my contentment. It’s far less eroding and corrosive than fear but debilitating just the same. It doesn’t gnaw and simmer and burn the way my resentments do but it does its own bit of destruction in its own way. It’s a destroyer of appreciation (for what I have), admiration (of what I’ve become) and gratitude (for all that I’ve been given).
I’m not trying to tell you about your envy or even whether you have it. I’m simply telling you about mine. It almost always goes unnoticed by you (in fact, I can’t remember you ever accusing me of it and you’ve accused of a lot and rightfully so) and yet it visits me everyday from early Monday mornings when you wake up to get the kids ready for school (how do you do it?), to uneventful Wednesday afternoons when you breath in a sliver of silence while your neighbor picks your kids up, to TGIF celebratory early Friday evening stuck-in-traffic drives home.
I see it when you hurriedly walk by. I read it in your “I’m-running-out-of-time” posts and I hear it in your “let-me-get-a-word-in” (I can still be quite a talker) stories. It’s in and under every normal, mundane, trivial thing you think you do from folding laundry to making breakfast, to helping with homework, to sitting down and writing through the nausea of paying bills, to attending little league games, to mending tears and kissing wounds, to washing hair and hands and faces and floors and sinks and shoes and all that you do. Because, believe it or not, I envy every little bit of you.
What you have is what I’ve always wanted, the hectics, the unbreakables (you don’t get any breaks, do you?), the many things broken, the speakables, the many times spoken: “not this again”, “I have to do that again?!” and “give me just three more minutes to lie in my cozy, comfortable and quiet bed” and especially the unspeakables “he didn’t just say what I thought he said! Did he?” In short, I want your schedule, your structure and your mild emergencies.
I envy your “average”, your “ordinary”, your “everyday” but mostly, I envy your family.