Saturday, April 23, 2011


     I have an unbecoming tendency towards self-grasping. Sometimes, rather than shared joy, my first inclination in the new light of a friend's good news is to think internally, "How come you got so lucky? What about me?" Which is silly. I am blessed beyond measure. I would not trade my life for anything. But still I feel it, the small pin-prickly inner whine.
     It's a form of self-centered fear, that I will not get good things, that I will be forever punished and have struggles and non-stop hard work forever and ever with no relief. I'm not sure why I have the feeling that horror awaits me in the future rather than blessings when it's blessings that I have largely received.
     I would like to be free of this pettyness. There's nothing better than sharing someone's joy, and sometimes, I am readily able to express that. It seems to be partly determined by how close they are me. The good news of someone whose life does not really touch my own is easy to celebrate: good for you! That's fantastic! But the closer the person is, the more intricately involved in my life, the more threatened I seem to feel, as if his or her joy will steal some of what's available for me.
     My daughter used to have a fixed idea in her mind that there was a pie of love, a limited amount, and if I gave love to someone else, it meant a smaller slice for her. I explained that the more I gave, the more I had to give, that love was the great magnifying mystery. And I'm sure that joy is like that too. I know it is. And yet, I fear for my piece of it. It feels competitive almost.
     Perhaps, recognizing this, I can be relieved of it. I am always able to come around to the infectious happiness of my friends and feel their joy eventually, but I would sure appreciate going straight there, without the jealousy hitch at all, and the fear for what I'm getting or not getting. It's behavior I want to discard. I most certainly do not need it. There is enough good news to go around.

Today, I will rest secure in knowing that joy has no limit.