Yesterday’s daily prompt was poignant for me. It’s not so much intense jealousy of one person; but guarding my heart against jealousy full stop. As a Christian, I would be required to do this anyway, but for me it seems like there is more temptation to do the opposite. I wrote about thought-life for Bible Reflections last December. What I wrote then is still applicable and appropriate now.
It’s maintaining that sense of perspective that is one of my biggest pitfalls. I have the same responsibility as the next Christian to hold every thought ‘captive’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This instruction has been near the front of my mind many times in these past four years, because it is often my fiercest battle-ground due to the nature of what I am dealing with. I am reminded that we are to ‘rejoice’ always, giving thanks in everything (Philippians 4:4-7).
Jealousy, Envy or something in-between?
Obviously I am only human, and there are times I am jealous. Sometimes jealousy is too strong a word. I used to be envious, jealous even of people that could work. People the same age as me who already made it to Ward Sister that I would meet when I was in hospital. I would feel it keenly that they had their career and I was nowhere. I think I have come to terms more with not being able to work. It is never something that will ‘sit easily’ with me because I would dearly love to be able to work.
At the moment, I can be envious of people who can move around more easily than me. To visit someone special in the summer will require a ‘military operation’ and I shall have to pay lots of money to cover my carer’s expenses, just to do something most people could do without hardly a second thought. I will do it, because they are worth it. Still, sometimes I think, ‘if I was normal, this would cost nothing’. Non-disabled, I would be able to drive my own car, and stay with said person, so far so normal… the reality is quite different. I do not yet wish to go into it, only to make clear where the potential to become envious lies.
This inability to travel easily has affected my social life before. I have not had a holiday since my brother’s wedding last year, and before that it would be about 3 yrs. Only because my wonderful parents collected me in a car on both occasions. I have to just not let myself think about those things. It is how it is, and that’s it, tough though that can be. It also means they are people I have not seen in years, like my best friend from big school, as I wouldn’t manage now to meet her halfway on my own.
Sometimes people will say to me, if you didn’t have this or that, life would be easier for you. I understand why they say that. It comes from people who either spend a lot of time with me, or love me, or both. They see the hassle and distress my appliance can cause me and wish I was without it, as it would make a life-changing difference were I not to have it. It would, admittedly, also make life easier for those around me, and potentially make some of the aspects of going away easier. However, this is the situation, and to wish something was not so does not really help except to get me down, were I to really think about it. Of course, I wish life were simpler, but I saw something on Facebook that really helped, from my friend Wendy, a fellow blogger, who quoted something from Ann Voskamp: “Hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.” Whether you believe in God or not, the sentiment is true, that we learn more when we are pushed outside of our comfort zones than if we just bumble or drift along. There is though, always, the temptation to envy. This or that one has more money, can afford to go on holiday, can work, is healthy, is engaged…. This is why always, I should watch for my attitude and keep the right perspective. There are many good things I do have. Parents who love me, wider family who also loves me and some of whom travelled hundreds of miles to my birthday party last month, wonderful friends who form a vital part of a crucial support network, and someone special though early days. The less said of that, the better! I am privileged God has given me a little house I can get around with my wheelchair and good enough adaptions I can access as much of it by myself as possible. As councils become increasingly cash strapped, housing like mine though rare, will become ever more impossible for those that need them to find. This is something I am extremely thankful for. Out of these blessings comes a responsibility to share what I have. The more I give to others, because I have been given much, the more I feel fulfilled, and less tempted to want what I do not have, or cannot do. It is a constant checking of my attitude and my thoughts; at which I know I need to work at, as do we all. There, at least, I am ‘normal’!!