Friday, April 10, 2015

mantra of joy

Recently, a FB friend posted this as part of her status:

I read an article on Contentment, and in [it] a lady talked about taking her Amish friend with her when she went to a large mall for the first time. When they left, her Amish friend told [her] 'Before I went there I knew I had everything I needed. Now, I think I need so many things!'

I didn't comment on her post, but had the thought that it mirrors what I have been thinking lately.

In actuality, my mantra lately has been Envy is the thief of joy.

I don't know what prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to use the words Comparison is the thief of joy, but I have my own reasons for my newest mantra.

I have thought of deleting Facebook, but I really do enjoy it. I don't waste mind numbing hours poring over people's pages. If FB friends (or acquaintances as many are in actuality) post things about repost this so I can see how many people are actually paying attention to me, I'm not going to do it. If you feel like I'm ignoring you ... go ahead and unfriend me. I'm okay with that.

I really don't have time to personally visit the pages of some 300 people .. or whatever it is.

I do like to see your pictures and hear of your joys and, as life tends to give us, sorrows. I'll rejoice with you and mourn with you.

I love seeing the pictures of families growing and playing. I love seeing reality. I even enjoy a link now and then.

Those don't typically cause me envy.

But there are some things that do.

I am happy in my life. I have an active family life, faith life and work life that keep me hopping and happy. We have been abundantly blessed.

Then sometimes as my finger is flipping down the page of FB, I see things that cause me discontent. I don't want you to stop doing those things that bring you pleasure and that you enjoy. I love the fact that you are able to do them. I especially love seeing families doing things together. I rejoice when I know that it isn't a common occurrence for you and that the memories you just made with your family will be treasured for the rest of your lives. I love that you can take days and spend them out and about with your friends/family/loved ones doing the things you enjoy.

However, it is as if I am the Amish woman who just walked into the mall. Until my finger hit the FB icon on my phone, I had enough. I was content. I was happy.

Then I scrolled through pages and suddenly I don't have enough. Envy, defined as a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck, has reared its ugly head and taken my joy.

No it hasn't taken.

I have allowed my joy to be given to envy.

Will others look at my life with the same kind of envy? Perhaps. I am at a most delicious stage of life. I take naps when I feel like it (although lately I'm developing napping insomnia!). I go out for breakfast/brunch on Sunday if I'm in the mood. I can drop and run to Hobby Lobby on a crafting whim. I can get my laundry done in several hours. I could seriously go on and on.

I have an entire litany of reasons that a walk through FB shouldn't be anymore challenging than an Amish walk through the mall should be.

I still don't have an answer to my dilemma as, irrationally, my joy turns to envy. No longer is my life filled with enough. I am left wanting more than our good Creator has seen fit to bless me with.

Maybe someone has a solution for this problem. Perhaps this is my problem alone and no one else shares it, although I am doubtful of that.

Perhaps my mantra is enough for now. It is a gentle reminder to the heart.

Hold on to the joy.

I'm going camping.
There is sure to be much there in the way of both peace and joy.


  1. Beautiful. You are not alone and lovely reminder. I don't have FB and avoid shopping malls but still envy comes and goes then I focus on the joy.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Envy certainly has a way of creeping in ... no matter where we are. Focusing on joy sounds like a much healthier and happier place to be!

  2. Thanks, Anita! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and seeing how you made a connection between the difficult themes of materialism, social media, envy, and joy. Can't you tell I'm at school and in the "theme" mode? Keep on writing in your eloquent way!

    1. Maaret - Just imagine. I am a 50 year old (can you believe it?!) woman who at times struggles with these themes. I wonder how the young ones manage to keep it straight with the increasing presence of materialism and social media in their world. You have such an important job!
      Thanks for the push to keep writing. I write and then often wonder if what I've written is something that should be shared. Mayhaps it is.

  3. Great post! I like all your post, but I usually don't comment- but my sister carolyn told me to come visit your blog today, so I had to comment on how much I agree!

    1. Thanks Susie! Nice to hear from your corner of the world!

  4. I enjoy reading your posts, and this one is pretty fine! I have read several that i have wanted to comment on, but words failed me. Your posts, such as this give me food for thought. I look forward to more of your posts (and so do several others in my family)! Thank you, Anita.

    1. Thanks for your nice comment. Maybe I'll get brave and hit publish on some others that I have lurking around but have been timid to share. Thanks again!

  5. I also must comment as an anonymous reader and enjoyer of your posts. You have wonderful crafting, photography, writing and so on gifts. I greatly appreciate your blog. This post I think touches all at times in their lives. I have greatly struggled with envy vs joy in the past couple years due to life's circumstances. It is good to know it is a common struggle and we can all strive to focus on the joys and blessings instead. Or an analogy I have come up with is...instead of standing outside the box looking in with great yearning and oft anguish, look around outside the box to see what there is to see! Happy camping and life to you!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree completely that all of us are touched by this at some time in our lives. I think that we can be affected by completely different things at different times as well ... depending on what is going on with ourselves. I like the box idea. There is ALWAYS something outside that box ... sometimes it just takes a little looking to find it. Camping was great!