Jealousy. What a terrible word. By definition it means resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc. , or against another’s success or advantage itself. (according to Dictionary.com) No one ever wants to be jealous, yet somehow, jealousy creeps into our hearts and steals away our love and happiness.
For me, it happens in a very non-traditional way. I am not by nature a jealous person. However, If I ever see a 1 1/2 or 2 year old little boy, the jealousy eats at my heart until it hurts so much I can’t breathe. You see, 6 years ago, I lost my son to brain cancer at 17 months old. My grief journey has been long and hard, but also rewarding and blessed. I have become so much closer to God and I have found peace where you would think it doesn’t exist. It has taken me 6 long years to come to the conclusion that my son may have come into this world for such a short time for the sole purpose of bringing our family closer to Jesus. For his illness and death did just that. We were Christians before he was sick, but it was more of a habit than a way of life. I am so sorry that it took losing my son to help me right my ways, but at the same time, I am so grateful for the precious gift my son and God have given to our family.
That being said, I still twinge in my heart when I see little boys. My son would be almost 8 now, in 2nd grade. But in my eyes, he is still 17 months old. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss holding him so much.
“And in that dark corner, desperation churns for what could be but isn’t, and what we want but still don’t have.” (Unglued by Lisa Terkeurst, chapter 9)
That quote speaks so loudly to me. Many a night I sat in a dark corner desperate for my baby boy. Many a day I refused to attend a function where toddlers would be because I knew I would fall apart. This eating away at my heart and this jealousy will not bring my son back. It has taken me years to understand this.
“We stop celebrating our own good and have a really hard time celebrating others’ good.” (Unglued by Lisa Terkeurst, chapter 9)
The jealousy of a baby boy often keeps me from celebrating with others and has also kept me from enjoying my two daughters as well. I feel guilty making a big deal about Christmas or Easter the way kids like to. Even birthdays are difficult. Every momentous occasion fills me with grief of what could have been, of how I will never have a family photo of my entire family, of how ungrateful some other people are towards their kids (am I judging too?). It is so unhealthy and so difficult to overcome. Yet, I work at it everyday. I try to remember that my son is not hurting. That Jesus has wrapped his arms around my son and they are waiting for me to join them. That I still have work to do here on earth with my husband and daughters. That women who have toddler boys are not trying to spite me! (sounds ridiculous, I know) That it’s ok for my daughters to get caught up in a holiday or an occasion. That I need to pray more and ask God to carry me more.
“Each of you must take the responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (Unglued by Lisa Terkeurst, chapter 9)
This is what I strive to do. My traditions have changed. My family has changed. My outlook on life itself has changed. However, I can still be a good mom to my girls and a good wife to my husband. I can be happy for other families of little boys and I can pray to God when I am having a hard time doing this. I can make a new plan for my family so we are not stuck in grief. I can do my best to make imperfect progress and embrace all of the blessings God has given me, including my son for such a short time. I can work toward having a more giving spirit which will leave less room for a jealous spirit.
Jealousy is dangerous. It is unfaithful, unfair and ugly. I don’t want jealousy in my life anymore. What are you going to do to eliminate jealousy in your life?