My sister-in-law is on vacation in the Philippines. She’s flying to Cebu today, that beautiful tropical island in the Visayas region. Meanwhile, I’m watching the weather news, as we’re supposed to get some snow tomorrow.
The stark contrast in our situations is temporary. She’ll be back home soon enough. Still, I can’t help but feel jealous, especially since she’ll be at the beach in a few hours, soaking up some sun.
I find I easily get jealous when others look like they’re having a better time of it than I am. Or, when I hear good news about someone and though I am sincerely happy for them, I feel bad for myself at the same time.
Like today, because my sister-in-law is headed for the beach and all I have to look forward to is slipping on more ice.
Or that day some weeks ago when someone took one step closer to their dream while mine remains a hazy dot in the horizon.
Or months ago, when a friend got a promotion, and all I got were several more baskets of clean laundry to put away.
And then I feel ashamed.
Because I am so ungrateful.
And there are few things more hateful than ingratitude, especially for someone who doesn’t have to worry about where the next meal is coming from.
And yet, I go through this cycle every time someone is blessed with something I want for myself.
Up and down, and my stays in the valley are bittersweet.
See, I ask God for many things, things dear to my heart.
At times, he gives me what I ask for.
Sometimes, he makes me wait.
Often times, the answer is a clear “No!”
I’m happy when I get what I want. I get impatient when he takes his time. And I sulk when he says no.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that leper. You know, the one who asked Jesus for healing. He said, straight up, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” [Mark 1: 40]
If. you. are. willing.
Not, “Please do this for me!’
Or, “You owe me a favor, I came looking for you.”
Or, “Prove you are who you say you are.”
No, the leper cut straight to the heart of the matter: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
No doubt about it, he believed Jesus could perform the needed miracle. He humbly appealed to Jesus, and Jesus had compassion on him.
So maybe, all these valleys happen to me not because God isn’t able, but because he isn’t willing.
And if what I read in the Bible, and learned in the past, is any indication, maybe he isn’t willing not because he doesn’t care.
Maybe he isn’t willing because he knows better.
It’s hard to remember I can only see one page at a time. It’s hard not to resent life because it doesn’t resolve as soon as I want it to.
But the snow tomorrow may very well end up to be a beautiful thing.
And shoveling the walk will actually provide some needed exercise.
Life is so much more joyful when I’m being grateful. And I like myself better when I’m thankful. I sleep better too.