I've disappointed myself. It's not hard to do given the personality I have - perfectionism has been genetically passed down to me by my father. Still, I thought so highly of myself to think that I had beaten all of those skeletons in my closet....that I had dealt with all of the lingering feelings of anger, frustration, and jealousy. Nope. I guess I'm not done fighting that battle yet.
The last couple of days I find myself slipping back into that mode of thinking, "Why do THEY deserve to have a baby? She doesn't even care that she's pregnant. She doesn't know how LUCKY she is..." and so on. I see red every time a pregnant woman complains. I'm not so full of myself that I won't admit that I see green every time I look at a pregnant woman at all. It's not that kind of jealousy that makes you feel like being mean or pulling the other person's hair. It's the kind of jealousy that makes you want to bawl your eyes out. That kind of jealousy that makes you feel sick to your stomach.
Jealousy is an awful monster that creeps it's way in when you're not looking. It's not a flattering characteristic. I've never really been the jealous type - most of the time if I saw someone with something that I wanted or a trait that I admired, I would just work hard to acquire it. No jealousy needed if I could do it myself. But this.....this isn't something that I can ever work toward (or back) to. I will never get back my pregnancy. We will never get back the healthy child that was supposed to be born to us on a hot July day. I haven't known this kind of jealousy.
Now, let me back up and say that if I am friends with you, and you are pregnant, don't take offense. I DO remember what it was like to be pregnant - and I complained a bit about it too. Feeling sick day and night, the restrictions on food, weight lifting, medicines, and so on. I am rational enough to understand that those things really STINK and of course you would complain about them. However, if I wasn't me.....if I was you.....and I could see me after all of this had happened, I might reconsider my situation and feel like maybe I was BLESSED to be carrying that baby. So stop and reconsider. BLESSED. You hear that?
Anyway. So all of this rehashing got me thinking that I needed to spend some more time studying and praying about jealousy. I'm certainly not telling you all of this so that you can validate these feelings. After all, I nearly didn't write this post because it's just embarrassing. It's embarrassing to admit that I'm dealing with something as petty and stupid as jealousy.
In Luke, Jesus tells the parable about the lost son who takes his inheritance, goes out on his own, and spends it unwisely while the older brother stays behind and obediently works for the father. When the younger son comes back, the father accepts him with a grand celebration....and the older brother is jealous because, although he has worked diligently, he has not be rewarded with such a celebration.
I think about this parable a lot when I think about jealousy. Don't you feel badly for the older brother? Maybe that's just me. It's so frustrating to see people blessed with things that I feel they don't deserve. But that's not the point. The point is to love others unconditionally. For me, that means being happy for them when they have something I don't...when they don't appreciate something that I would. I don't get to make the decision about whether or not they deserve what they have. After all, sin is sin - and I'm hardly faultless. I don't deserve the things that I have been blessed with either. Like a son who is healthy, growing, and happy! I know many people who would give anything to have a son at all.
So. What can I say? I'm a work in progress. I hope that with time (and a lot of prayer) these feelings will go away. In the meantime, I'm going to be taking deep breaths, thinking happy thoughts, and giving all of my pregnant friends really BIG HUGS. After all, who can stay jealous/irritated after a hug? Not me.