OK, since I’ve already “fessed up” about the 6th commandment, 7th commandment and 8th commandment in earlier posts the past couple weeks, why not come clean about some potential envy? OK, I know that envy is technically one of the “Seven Deadly Sins” but it plays pretty directly to the 10th commandment:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house and you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
By the way, if you have any confusion as to why I have the above two items as one commandment, that’s because that’s the way the Jews and most of the Protestants do it; the Catholics and Lutherans actually split this up into the 9th and 10th commandments, as they consider the “I am the Lord your God and you shall have no other gods before me, and You shall not make for yourself an idol” stuff to be one commandment instead of two. (You can find out more about that at Wikipedia, though)
But back to the coveting/envy thing.
To covet something, I think that usually you first have to envy your “neighbor” having that house, or ox or property or spouse. Or Wii console gaming system. Or new Volvo.
And I find myself wondering, am I being covetous and envious about something. I mean, I know I can be covetous and envious in general—we all do that crap—but I have a particular concern.
And by “something,” I mean something pretty broad, which is a comfortable living.
I see others around me in the same socioecomic circles who near as I can tell are doing better than Mrs. Blue and I, but I’m not sure why. Mind you, I don’t begrduge them what they have, really, in terms of income or, in many cases, family support to pay off $10,000 credit card bills and things like that.
It isn’t even that we lack support. My dad has been of immense help in lean times lately, but the help he offers only keeps us from crashing and burning. We don’t move ahead. And so many of the people I see around me are either moving ahead, albeit slowly, or they are simply staying afloat, as we are.
It’s the latter group that ticks me off, really. And here’s why: You see, many of the people I know in the latter group could be moving ahead. They don’t have to be treading water. With the help they have and their ability to earn money potentially, they could be on an upward climb toward having savings and being debt-free.
For Mrs. Blue and I, it’s a constant battle to stay ahead of the next crisis and salt something away. Often, we don’t manage to do either. We can’t get ahead right now, even with both of us working, because our respective client loads aren’t where we need them to be in our respective freelance lines of work, and we can’t get decent office-based jobs where we’re at that would provide a regular salary. So, one of our biggest challenges is that we never have our tax money put away, because there’s always some car repair or some medical visit or something else that eats away at the money.
And yet we know people who have one spouse virtually staying at home, a spouse that has the capability of doing work on a part-time or full-time basis, mind you. And they tread water therefore because they choose to. They have the capability to rise above, but don’t take it.
And so I find myself wondering: When I look at these people, am I envious that they can work less and tread water because they have help from family? Whereas I work too hard and sink.
Or am I offended? Offended because they talk about how close to the line they are and what they sacrifice to make ends meet, when they have opportunities that they are squandering that could move them ahead, while I sit here feeling guilty that I can’t do more to move my family ahead because of lack of time and resources.
And really, is being offended any better than being covetous and envious? Probably not.
Just a vent, folks, just a vent. And I know that what I really need to do more is thank God that I have been given the blessings to not drown in my stormy financial seas. But still, it’s rough. Feel free to tell me if (and where) I’m just being wrong-headed. I’m sure I need to be slapped for something based on this post…