I saw on Facebook that my cousin was in town (DC). The minute I saw his picture by the World War II memorial, I had a deep pang in my gut.
I am not the man my father wanted me to be. I know next to nothing about hunting, guns, football or car repair. I know how to fish because of my grandfather, but we have only gone fishing once in my life. Growing up, my father and I did not really spend much time together. We lived in the same house, but we were strangers.
Do I love my father? Absolutely! Do I blame him for my shortcomings? No. Do I think he is a bad man? Quite the opposite, I admire him.
This entry is not really about my dad, but about how jealousy saturates the soul.
My cousins (the one in DC and his brother) share all of my father’s attributes. They even look like him (I look nothing like my father…thankfully I do not look like the mailman either). They are very close with my father and enjoy spending time with him.
When I went to my grandmother’s funeral, the whole gang was there. I drove into town with my sister. We had met up at the airport. When we entered the funeral home I saw my extended family. And in one corner of the room, my father was holding court with my cousins. They were exchanging cop stories. They were the focal point of the room. Thankfully my sister was there to help me navigate the room. She steered me to my cousin Jo and we had a great time.
The wake and funeral were that night. The burial was the next day in an adjoining town. After the funeral, my mom asked my sister and me to go have dinner. We ate at a cheap Chinese buffet in the middle of Missouri. You would think it was awful, but I love MSG, so it was fine. We talked about the funeral and how moving the service was. Then my mother happens to share over fortune cookies that my dad is going to breakfast with my cousins in the morning. I asked if I could tag along. The answer? No, this is just a cop thing. You would not want to go.
I was 40 at the time. But for a minute, I felt like I was 7. I knew my face was flush. But I said nothing. The next day we buried my grandmother and my sister and I drove back to Kansas City. She of course picked up on my anxiety immediately. It felt good to have someone to rant with.
Jealousy is a funny thing. It is not so much about wanting what you don’t have so much as not wanting someone else to have it. My relationship with my father is tepid, but we mostly get along. Do I want to learn about guns and hunting and football? Not really. But the jealous monster in my gut does not want him to share that part of his life with someone else.
It is fitting that this Sunday’s sermon was about Judas. I do not pretend to understand what Judas’ motivations were. It was probably just disappointment that Jesus was not the revolutionary he had hoped for. But I am sure jealousy fits somewhere into the equation. I could identify with Judas’ actions. I am almost positive that he did not want Jesus to die. I think he was trying to provoke a response. Boy have I been there.
It is funny how I kid myself into believing that stuff like this doesn’t matter or that I am “over” it. If you had asked me this morning if it was jealous of my cousins, I would have said an emphatic “no.”
But seeing that picture up on Facebook, I am reminded that I not quite as evolved as I like to think I am. My little green monster is alive and well.