For me, this is a post about a numerous amount of things on any one given day. Houses and babies and fulfilling jobs and all those well-lit, expensively decorated houses everyone is always pinning the heck out of on pinterest.
First, and foremost, this is a post about envy.
Holy smokes. There it is.
To be quite honest, this draft has been sitting for a long time. It just takes a while to get all these things out, you know.
Then Sweet Erika from Rouge & Whimsy wrote a post, and I thought about this draft and muttered to myself, "Ok...what the heck?"
And then shortly there after, I ended up hitting "Publish."
What the heck, am I right?
With that being said...
Right now, I am re-reading a book by Lauren Winner called Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life. It is my favorite book. It documents Lauren's journey from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, and I learn something new every time I read it.
Lauren has a married friend named Hannah.
During one particularly awkward encounter, Hannah explains to Lauren that she *might* be in the beginning stages of an affair with another man and is...what's the word?
Or so it seems.
And Lauren, being in her mid-20's and "still" single, has a hard time getting over it.
Because it stinks. It stinks when people make bad choices and, in turn, get the things we most want.
Houses and babies and new lovers alike.
Hannah is involved with two men while Lauren spends Christmas alone with a box of Lucky Charms and a scratchy afghan.
And then Hannah gets pregnant. Unfaithful-fornicating-selfish-two-timing Hannah gets her very own bundle of joy.
The rest of this post is mostly just Lauren's reaction. Someone once commented (on a separate blog) that posting quotes feels a lot like cheating. And maybe it is. Maybe I am cheating by posting such a large amount of content by another author, but right now, for some reason, it just feels desperately important.
So. There you have it. And below, you'll find Lauren's words. Not mine.
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When I get home from coffee with Hannah, I sit on my bed and try to picture it. I try to picture watching her be pregnant, I try to picture the baby shower, I try to picture the newborn, downy person in a pink blanket, and I try, while I picture those things, to picture myself being happy for Hannah, and I can't. I can't imagine feeling happy. I just feel jealous and pathetic and lame. I feel miserable. On top of feeling jeaouls and miserable, I feel like a bad, selfish person, so uncharitable that I can't summon even a shade of joy when my friends do great, joyful things like have babies.
Sitting on my bed, I tell God bluntly that I don't have the resources to watch Hannah have this baby. "I really don't want to feel this way," I say. "I really want to do right by my friend. But I don't know how to be a friend to her, God." I don't think I can stand even five mintues of her crib-buying glee. I don't think I can give her a sympathetic ear when she complains about morning sickness. I look at my icons. "I am so jealous I can't stand up straight." I say. "If you want me to somehow look on during this pregnancy, you are going to have to give me the eyes to do it with." If I am going to do something other than crumple up and collapse, it will only be because God does it for me. Because He will gently pry me apart and prop me upright after I have crumpled into a ball on the floor.
Somehow, I know He will uncrumple me. I will be jealous and miserable all through this pregnancy, but I have known God long enough now to know that He will give me enough respite from my jealously to go to Baby Gap. He will give me enough respite to listen to Hannah talk about her ultrasounds. If I ask for that respite and open my hands to receive it, He will give it to me. He will give me enough peace to be her friend. And knowing God, he might even surprise me. He might give me, amid the months of envy, a few moments of gratitude and joy. He might give me a little burst of affection and excitement when I first see that downy bundle of pink.
Later, in the shower, I get it. I get that Hannah's pregnancy is my own school of sanctification*. God is sanctifying Jim and Hannah through marriage and parenthood, but he is not just blessing them and leaving me out in the unblessed cold. He is using my ridiculous jealousy and my endless self-pity to sanctify me.
I will forget that, of course at Hannah's baby shower. Sitting through that baby shower, I will forget about the sanctification and only remember the pain. But then I will come home, and I will pray, and I will remember. I will remember that God does not cause our suffering, but He uses it.
I will remember that He is using that baby shower to somehow grow me into the person He wants me to be.
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Love, and mine usually starts with attached garages, full, finished basements and spacious linen closets,
...and en suite bathrooms....and large pantries.
* Sanctification: to set apart for sacred use, to make holy
There are days when I have either lost this (haha) ^^^ or days when I don't have a clue, either.
Never want to take for granted that everyone who stops by speaks my language. :)