27 January 2011

Deadly Sin Alert

Dear Reader,

We are in our 19th day with cloudy skies, though there was a brief sun beam spotted last Sunday (apt!) that lit up our stained glass windows at the beginning of services. Snow today and tomorrow night I think. But the bone cracking cold is gone for a while. Remarkable how warm the 20s feel now!

I am wrestling with one of the fabled deadly sins this morning. Wrestling is too strong. Feeling the tug. And it's the perhaps worst one, Envy. Cruising my Facebook page today I see my local mayor (whom I know personally) has been to DC and met the president. Cool. I shook the hand that shook the hand.

Then I remember how many people I know have met a president. Lots. But not me. For a while when I lived in NYC it seemed everyone had encountered a Clinton or a Bush sometime. "What, you've never met the president?" seemed to be the look in their eyes. Feeling left out and overlooked I felt the familiar moping that is Envy's greeting card.

Of the fabled sins, Greed and Gluttony and Lust have at least momentary pleasure, venal as it may be. Sloth and Pride and Wrath are harder on the sinner than those around him or her.

But Envy is just pathetic. Who confesses to envy, even to a priest? Envy has lurked about my hems most of my life. That you never noticed it means I have been fairly successful at dealing with it does not mean I am cured. Like an alcoholic, it requires constant vigilance.

But like those in recovery, it helps to say it out loud. "Hello, my name is Fred, and I envy. " Are you in the same group with me, or do you belong with another sin?

You can tell me. What happens in group stays in the group, right?


James Harrington said...

I have shaken the hand of chef Paul Prudhomme while standing in line outside his restaurant in New Orleans, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. Ryan Seacrest walked right past me last year in Hollywood (and he pretended to not recognize me). Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot on my fourth birthday. Those are my closest brushes with fame.
I think my envy runs toward the not-famous type. It would make me very happy to be one of a handful of humans who have ever been in any particular place on this Earth. I envy those who can fit that kind of adventure into their lives.
But to temper my thinking of it as "envy," I prefer to call it "setting goals." Meeting a set objective like climbing a mountain can be as satisfying as earning a place in that inner circle where people can shake the hand of the president.
Life is about setting and meeting goals, and the wise know that their own neighbors are looking over the fence, too, and admiring how green your grass is already.

June Wohlhorn said...

Interesting that "covet"ing is the only one of the 7 sins to make the 10 Commandments list. There's no Thou shalt not eat too much (gluttony, my besetting sin) or thou shalt not lie around too much. A point could be made that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife fits into the lust category or coveting goods into the greed but it's the wanting that's the "sin." So 20% of the ten is about envy/coveting.

Never met a president but it doesn't bother me. Have met Koffi Annan, David Bowie, Paul Simon among others. Most New Yorkers have met someone famous!