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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Envy, Rivalry & Bridge Jumping

Isn't it curious that we can appear to be envious of something that, in truth, we would never want to have?

I'm sure you know this story.  There's a guy or girl at work that just never seems to get what they have coming to them.  Late to work, calls off sick with that "morning after" illness, does more chatting than working, and exhibits some other negative qualities that we would be embarrassed for people to see in us... yet she has no problem with the reputation it gets her with her coworkers.  If her coworkers were boss - she'd be fired - after she was properly humiliated, of course.

Or maybe you have a sister or brother that doesn't work as hard as you, doesn't pay his bills on time, overindulges on the things he wants and mom and dad bail him out time and time again.  Perhaps with what you believe is your inheritance!  Don't worry about that... your parents are leaving your inheritance to the humane society, or perhaps to a foundation to benefit people who can't drink milk.  Hey, they're our parents - they do weird stuff, right?

We wouldn't want to be in the shoes of these slackers - because, quite frankly, they stink... although... probably not since they have a selection of shoes that make you drool and they never wear the same pair twice.  (In all likelihood that is where your sister's mortgage money really went.)  But, in all truth - we don't want to be like that... it just ticks you off that they get away with it.

I have news for you (the kind of news that makes you change the channel, unfortunately).  It's all sibling rivalry.  One way or another they are our siblings on this planet - even if we don't share genetic material.

I know a guy (I'll call him Dave) that wanted this one particular job so bad.  He finally got it.  He hates it.  He likes the work.  He likes the hours.  His boss pays him well.  His boss appreciates his work and he lets him know.  Dave hates his job because he's jealous.  He's jealous that another guy (I'll call him Lou) talks too much, kisses up to another boss and that boss is happy to accept the ego boost, calls off work more often than he should and doesn't give 100% in the work place.  Dave has no respect for Lou and desperately wants him to get what he 'deserves'.

Lou's behavior doesn't impact Dave's job.  His workload doesn't increase because Lou is a slacker of sorts.  But... Dave spends an inordinate amount of time watching for Lou's screw ups and bothering his boss with the tattling.  Dave is also so angry at Lou that he blows up at him - going so far as to "invite" Lou out to the parking lot.  Dave was in line to become a foreman, but his jealousy has cost him the respect of the other employees and he will be passed over when the time comes to name a foreman.  Dave is 45.  Lou is 26.

Dave doesn't want to be anything like Lou, nor would he want people to think of him as Lou is generally thought of.  It isn't Dave's company.  He and Lou are work-siblings.  Dave is paid well.  He could just ... let it go...  But he has let this ruin a job that was perfect for him.

Another situation... two sisters...  Beth is married to a wonderful guy.  She has 2 children - 17 & 21.  They are well adjusted.  She has a beautiful home.  She's pretty, thin, educated and successful by worldly accounts.  Jackie has 2 kids in their early 20's.  One is an irresponsible single mother with an attitude problem and the other has had frightening mental health and addiction issues.  Jackie is overweight, broke, raising her grandchildren, and would give you the shirt off her back.  Beth probably would as well - but it costs Jackie more to do so, and she wouldn't tell other people about it later.  Jackie's dad helps her and her kids out - financially as well as other ways.  While acknowledging that she would never want to be in that situation, Beth is really angry that her sister is getting this help.  An outsider would presume that Beth doesn't feel her sister deserves anything good in her life at all, since there is obviously so much that is hard in Jackie's life.

Even the apostle Peter said to Jesus, "What about him?  What does he have to do?" in reference to John.  Jesus' reply was to tell Peter it was none of his business what Jesus would have John do... Peter was to do what Peter was told to do.  In other words, Peter... "If John jumped off a bridge, would you want to jump off a bridge too?  Mind your own business!"

How much of our life's misery is caused by sibling rivalry.  Rather than gratitude for our own blessings, we resent that someone else is getting something we feel they don't deserve.  In truth... and in the eyes of OUR siblings... how much do we, in fact, deserve the good things that are in our lives.

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