I have never been a jealous person. That is, I have never wanted for anything anyone has. There has never been an an outfit, a piece of art, a car or a home that I have ever longed for. Not because I have everything, but, more because I am satisfied with the things that I have.
Simply put, I do not have a strong attachment to “things”. So, I am not envious of the stuff people have. I have also never been jealous of other people’s relationships. Having a wonderful marriage and a great connection with my grown children leaves me very happy and fulfilled. Therefore, I have never looked at anyone’s relationship with envy.
So, I guess it could be said that I am jealous of nothing. Which brings me to a very interesting twist…
One night, while I was in the bedroom reading yet another faith-based book, I was moved to get up and share with my husband a story I had just read about a woman who went on a spiritual journey.
She spent four years in prayer and meditation pursuing a closer relationship with God. In her book, she talked about how she went about her journey and how there were some Buddhist monks and cloistered nuns who spend their days in prayer and meditation, doing nothing else.
The thought of spending every waking minute in deep contemplation intrigued me so much that I had to share it. So, as I walked into the living room, I found my husband sitting in his favorite rocking chair, smoking his pipe and staring into a roaring fire.
He looked deep in thought, so I asked him, “What are you thinking about?” He answered, “Nothing.” To some people, that might be a polite way to disregard the question. So, I asked again. “What are you thinking about?” Again, he replied, “Nothing.”
I have known for years that he has had the ability to clear his mind and think of nothing, a fact that became extremely clear when our son went off to war. I was stricken with fear and found it difficult to think of anything else while my husband went about his daily activities with relative ease. I submerged myself in my Bible and read book after book about how to stop stressing. I just could not escape the thoughts in my head.
Then, one day, my husband came home telling me about a wood carver he met who carves bears from logs with a chainsaw. I tried to sit and listen to the story, but, could not focus. In fact, the whole time I listened to him tell the story, all I could think about was how much I wished I could find joy in his story, but, I was frustrated. I knew that as long as my son was at war, I would not have peace.
Then- it hit me! I was jealous! I was not envious of the families whose sons were safe at home. I was not jealous of people with more money, or cars and homes that were nicer, newer or better than mine. In fact, I was not jealous of anything. I was jealous of NOTHING! I was envious of my husband’s ability to think of nothing. What a gift he has in that nothingness!
Religious devotees spend years in deep prayer and meditation in an attempt to reach this state of mind, and my husband came to it with ease. By the way, when our son came home and we saw him step off that bus and into our arms, my husband cried. It was as if he had allowed himself to unlock the door in his mind that held his concerns and worries. So, he was able to live as we all wish we could- in the moment.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. -Matthew 6:34 New International Version (NIV)
As I stood there looking at my husband, The glow of a golden fire was the only light in the room and the only sound was the crackling it made as it burned. I was going to share with him the story of how this woman found peace and tranquility through years of prayer and meditation, but, in truth, he didn’t need to hear the story. He was already there! I confess, I am jealous of nothing. I am thinking of taking up a pipe, a rocking chair, and a roaring fire. Yes, friends, life is mysterious. And a quiet mind is even more mysterious!