Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Envy Part 1

A couple of my favorite bloggers have written about the green eyed monster in the last couple of weeks, and it has brought up quite a few feelings for me.

I am guilty of letting envy get the best of me.
I'm not proud of it and in fact have felt rather shameful on more than a few occasions in the last couple of months.

Worst of all, my envy is over material wants. To me it is one of the worst forms of envy because you often can't do a lot to change these types of circumstances, leaving a longing in you that just doesn't feel right at all.

You can lose weight, or at least 'try', if you are envious of the skinnies
You can practice cooking, crafting, heck, playing the piano, if you're envious of others talents.
But you can't rub 2 pennies together to create a million dollars, now can you?
Our sermon in church last week was about money and how it is one of the most common barriers to God. Yup, couldn't agree more.

So how goes my story?

Well, this particular bit of envy for me started soon after we entered escrow on our charming home in Rossmoor. I was tickled pink. Truly. I felt happy, blissful and so so so blessed. I felt true appreciation, and it felt so good to feel that way. So often we take things for granted, but when I found out we got that house I was truly grateful for everything God had blessed me/us with.
But then things started to go awry. For those that know me, you know the story. I will not rehash all the gory details of the "hardest transaction" my Realtor had ever worked on.

About 2 weeks into escrow, I get a call from a friend. He had just opened escrow on a VERY VERY expensive home. And it was a beautiful home. He sent me the MLS listing and I just about died. This is the kind of home that dreams are made of. You know the type of home that's just so darned pretty you could cry? And it was just my style of home. Big Mediterranean villa type homes down in Newport Coast don't do a thing for me. But sprawling, ranch style homes adorned with beautiful brick accents and HUGE HUGE trees, well they just make me swoon. Oh and the yard. The yard was like a park.

I got a very deep sinking feeling in my stomach and it stayed there for days. I couldn't believe on top of it, how easy everything was going for them. The transaction was sailing along just smoothly while we kept hitting road block after road block. How could it be so easy for them? Why was it so hard for us?
What's that little old saying though about challenges making us stronger? I needed to be reminded of that everyday. For a split second I even thought to myself, "well they'll probably foreclose on it in a few years anyhow." What kind of a friend thinks that? I felt very, very shameful.

Shame for feeling those feelings, shame for not being grateful for what we had, and more than anything, shame for possibly making my husband feel anything less than wonderful because we weren't able to buy a very, very expensive home like that.

Fast forward to close of escrow and once again, I felt happy and grateful. I had gotten over the fact that our friends bought that beautiful home when I found out that their gardener bill alone was going to be about $500 a month! Ha-ha!

We got settled in and I just loved our new house and neighborhood. But a couple of weeks after move-in date, the green envy monster started creeping back in. It's kind of hard to keep it at bay when you have a $1.2 million dollar house right next door literally staring down at you. You know that famous saying "keeping up with the Jones'." Drive around Rossmoor and you'll see it alive and well.

Let me interject here and quickly try to psycho-analyze my obsession with pretty homes and why a home has the ability to make me "swoon." Some women long for designer handbags, expensive cars, diamond jewelry, etc. But a pretty home is the only thing I "want." I know that in and of itself it is a sin to swoon over material possessions. I know, I know, I know.

I blame it on my childhood though, so there. The way I obsess over homes would make one think I grew up a child of privilege and I'm just being a spoiled brat wanting more, more, more. But I swear that is not the case. As a child I sort of saw my life in pictures. Rather the life I "wanted." I would see in magazines or movies, gorgeous Father of the Bride type homes, and I would say to myself "some day I want to live in a house like that."

Perhaps it's because we had so little that I wanted so much more.
I don't know, it's a thought. I have never actually been to see a psychiatrist to know if this assessment is correct, but I did pass Psych 101 so it makes some sort of sense to me.

Moving on. Now, we are in the process of interviewing architects and contractors and coming up wtih all sorts of plans to renovate what is a perfectly good home and make it something better. And I just need to keep myself in check.

Because I don't think it's wrong to want something more for our family and for the kids especially. A more spacious house, a nice backyard in a good neighborhood. But it's when I start crossing that very fine line between what is practical and makes sense to what is just for pure show and vanity that I start to lose my way.

It's the green monster talking when I say things like "I want to replace this brand new window (that is perfectly fine mind you) for a prettier wood window." Now that just doesn't make any sense and that's when I need to check myself.

I'm praying about it everyday. I am praying for peace in my heart. Envy is just too awful of a feeling to want to hold onto and keep in your life. It's presence really can consume you. That's not the life I want to lead, and it's certainly not the example I want to set for my children.

If I haven't bored or depressed you yet and you have a spare moment, jump on over to this gal's blog because she said it beautifully. I just about cried when I read this last night. Sometimes you just need to read something else to make you check yourself before you wreck yourself.


  1. Holy Cow! I can so relate. I live in an original model Rossmoor home myself. Sure we upgraded kitchens/baths/floors, but compared to the 1.5 million dollar rebuilds all around us our 1600 sq ft home doesn't shout "hey look at me!" But I just love that I can live in this hood, and I wonder how many people drive thru R-moor and my house thinking "gosh those people are so lucky to live there!"

  2. I'm friends with your SIL Caroline and browsed through your blog only to see the above photo. Be still, my beating heart! Have you seen the house similar to this on Main Street in HB? I am going to take a picture of it and blog about it soon. You.Would.Love.It. I'm so intrigued by another honest blogger and one who admires bricks and trees...the finer things in life. :)


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