“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” ~ Proverbs 14:30
For the past several weeks (ahem, months), I have felt prodded to start writing again. Sometimes it’s very direct – someone will say something like, “Why aren’t you writing?” Other times it’s a gentle push, merely a thought darting through my mind, “Oh, that’s a good idea!” But the time flits by and I’ve continued to ignore the nudges. That is until they started arriving daily, and even I’m not thickheaded enough to dismiss too many.
It hasn’t just been wrestling with the writing itself. What I’ve really been grappling with is the fact that I viewed writing as a way of working through things, learning the lessons that being widowed brought about. And now I want to be done. Cross the finish line. Reach the goal. Complete. Check all the boxes, being widowed is rough, but let’s move on, shall we?
Well, as it turns out, that isn’t exactly how life works. And at the heart of things, I found that my wanting to be done came from a place of deep envy. Ironically, it wasn’t even envy of someone else’s life – I envied my own, past life. The life that I was supposed to have. There should have been an awesome husband in that life, and a sibling for my little boy. A boisterous, growing happy family. And while my little boy and I are really content, when I look around, it isn’t at all the picture I had in my mind when I first heard his heartbeat four and a half years ago.
But according to the wisdom of the Proverbs, that kind of envy rots the bones. Other translations call envy a cancer. And we all know the kind of widespread, but invisible, damage that cancer can do. My jealousy – even of myself! – hurts me, my little boy, and all the people around me. Through God’s grace, I must learn to let go of my expectation of what my present should look like, and embrace it as it is. With His help, I can make the most of what I’ve been given every day, and choose joy along the way.
So here I am, having gone there and back again, to quote Tolkien. And having returned, I bring a heart humbled and willing to keep learning.