The young talk show host tells me he’s glad he could work an interview with me into his busy schedule.
I can only imagine how busy talk show hosts are. Finding guests, vetting them, prepping enough to deliver an interesting program five days a week.
How busy is his schedule?
Well, he tells me, in addition to his daily show, he does “about thirty on-the-road gigs each year.” He says this so breezily.
The “gigs” he is referring to are the same “gigs” I do. And I feel lucky if I get three in a year.
A nasty little dagger of jealousy plunges into my heart.
Frankly, this young man’s breezy attitude irks me.
I spend the rest of my morning feeling rattled. Not because success comes so easily to this young man whom I unfairly tag as privileged in ways that I will never be.
I feel rattled because I have failed to love him as one of God’s beloved.
I know how grateful I feel when I ponder God’s unconditional love for me, because I know well how unworthy I am of the love, acceptance, and tender compassion which God lavishes on me.
I am grateful beyond words as this healing balm anoints all the wounded and hurting and hurtful places within me.
“I know you and I love you,” God seems to say. “I know your arrogance, your sense of entitlement, your prickly spirit, your insecurities, and I love you.”
I encounter a love that flows over me not because of my merit but because of pure and simple divine generosity.
I shouldn’t be surprised at this jarring dissonance between God’s lavish love and my puny spirit. The words I have been given to ponder this year, tellingly, are these: My motive is love. These are the words I must grow into. Not at my initiative, but at God’s invitation. God’s challenge.
I am invited to love as purely, as simply, as innocently, as naively, as God loves. Uncomplicated, unguarded, uncompromised love.
And God’s invitation is this: Rewind the tape. Replay that moment when my heart went to the dark place of jealousy. So here we go.
How busy is this young man’s schedule?
In addition to his daily show, he says, he does “about thirty gigs each year.”
The gigs he is referring to are the same “gigs” I do. And I can imagine how they bless others, how they can be moments of holy encounter, channels of grace and good.
I rejoice that this brother of mine is blessing others. I rejoice that lives are touched, encouraged, enriched.
I discover that I am capable of real, authentic rejoicing when I am in God and therefore free to encounter others in this holy space of belonging.
Twentieth century Catholic priest, teacher, and author Henri Nouwen writes of the naïveté, the pure, uncomplicated generosity, of God’s love. And because God’s love is generous, and for every one, at all times, “God is so naive as to think,” Nouwen writes, that we will share in the holy joy of another’s prosperity which blesses others.
Rejoicing is the only proper response to another’s gain which blesses others. Of course!
Yet I am well aware of how quickly my heart constricts, and the bitter sting of jealousy arises in my throat. How quickly the favored one who is not me becomes one of “them,” somehow in competition with “me” for seemingly scarce opportunities to be loved, to act, to share.
The Apostle Paul reminds me that “for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are, and for whom we exist. And one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and through whom we exist.”
It’s not about me, or about my jealous response to another’s encounters with grace. It’s about God who is uncomplicated love, ever so ready to flow in my veins.
Mary Sharon Moore writes and speaks nationwide on
the nature of God’s calling in our times.