See Lent 101 for the context in which these are written.

Avarice (Greed)

It also encompasses selfishness, and is probably the “duh” for the basic no-argument-gotcha here. We know what this means. Unfortunately, the skate here is that of a superficial generosity, which is what Paul (#10 can, people) meant when he said, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor 13: 2) That is to say, writing the check is not enough; not writing a check (i.e., time volunteering) is as–and often more–important.

Envy

“It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”–Sheryl Crow, Soak Up the Sun

The “duh” here is, “keeping up with the Jones’.”  But there’s more to it than that. It often gets folded in together with Avarice, but they’re really two different things. Greed is holding on to the stuff you have, and refusing to share with others—-Envy is desperately wanting more stuff, and obsessing over the stuff others have.

The skate here is defining “stuff” as physical objects. But my use of “stuff” is deliberately vague here. For me right at the moment, I’m in a place of worry over a complex of things which (as so many do) partially involves money. And, boy oh boy, do I passionately envy the people who don’t have to deal with this.

I know that there are so many many people who have not walked barefoot through fire and brambles, and sometimes it makes me scream inside. It’s not fair; oh merciful God, it’s not fair. Why me? And that’s not the whiny/sarky way of saying it, but the one you sob into your pillow.

It’s hard to “want what you’ve got” when it seems that all you have is pain. But that’s when you have to reach deep down with all the discipline you have to see the things you’re grateful for. (Hey, you’re probably able to read, unless you’re using an assistive technology. Yay you!! A lot of people still can’t.)

Last, but far from least, so often we fall into the trap AA cautions against: Don’t judge people’s insides as their outsides. Sometimes that scruffy-looking guy with the funny nose has an indescribably beautiful soul–but in terms of Envy, it’s the other way around.

I know a wonderful couple who have money and two graduate degrees, but they discovered that the baby they adopted was autistic (not the Asperger’s kind, but the one that needs the protective helmets). They came to the US from South America specifically to get him the best treatment possible. I live at 88% of the US poverty line, but I have two brilliant, beautiful, and healthy kids. ‘Nuff said.

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