August 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

My sister is disgusting. I’ve told her this fact numerous times—in the most loving, Christ-like manner possible. Allow me to enumerate: As a gifted artist, she is planning her third year of art school in Florence, Italy. She majored in music, has written several beautiful melodies, and sang in a Christian band during college – and at my wedding, by the way. This year when she joined my family for Easter, she brought a gorgeous yellow pantsuit, perfectly tailored, which she whipped up the day before.

In spite of the fact that at the age of three she trimmed her eyelashes to nubs, she has lush, long lashes that frame deep chocolate eyes. She’s smart, athletic, and she weighs less than I do.

Throughout our lives, the only claim to superiority over her I had was my year and a half lead in age. That sad truth is no longer a benefit.

The demon of jealousy has plagued me sporadically through the years. Fortunately, as a rule, I managed to roll along content with my lot—mostly because we were blessed with loving parents who highlighted our varying strengths. In fact, they took pains to treat us all equally.

However, in a family of modest income, this equilibrium was not always possible to maintain. I remember clearly the summer before my senior year gritting my teeth as I admired the five new shorts outfits Nancy received in order to go to cheerleading camp. (I was too chicken to try out). That ugly monster had me firmly in his grip, and I’m pretty sure I gave in to some whining about how unfair her luxurious increase in wardrobe was.

I will say, my jealousy slash envy did not quite edge into covetousness (thin line, I know). It’s not that I didn’t want Nancy to have bright new clothes. I just wanted them, too.

You’d think thirty years later, I would have matured beyond such pettiness. And, again, I would say on most days, God has taught me to be more than content with my very blessed life. Yet this year, in the middle of my sincere rejoicing over the publishing success of two friends in my writing crit group, Satan stirred up an ounce of dissatisfaction. I want success, too.

I imagine God cringes at the whine in my thoughts.

He continues to help me be like Paul who said he had “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12b NIV). And how many times must I remind myself that God has a perfect plan fashioned for me? The confidence in His fulfillment of this promise allows me to genuinely “rejoice with those who rejoice” and “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15 NIV).

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.


16 Responses to “Green-Eyed”
  1. Holly Smith says:

    That strikes a chord with me, Jane. Same deal-my sister and all her success became a rival in our younger days because she got a lot of attention from our parents. She got all the awards at school and eventually became a successful lawyer. But just as you discovered, God has a perfect plan for me and I am gifted, just not in the same way that society measures. I am still walking into my destiny and she rejoices for me as I do her now!

    • Jane Thornton says:

      Holly, I’m so glad you’ve found peace with God’s plan for you and that you now rejoice with each other.

  2. Jane,

    Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been too embarrassed and/or ashamed to admit! I, too, get jealous and even though I’m blessed beyond belief, I sometimes find myself forgetting what I already have (due strictly to God’s generosity) and coveting what I don’t yet have.


  3. Julie Marx says:

    Hee hee hee…. A truly disgusting sib. You have a way of making me laugh and cry at the same time. Way to confront the green-eyed monster, Jane. Well said, and we can relate.

  4. Lee King says:

    Jane, I can’t believe you wrote this. You are beautiful, you have a handsome husband, two beautiful, healthy children, a comfortable home, Christian friends, a church family – in other words you have it all. And I have a feeling that even though your sister is all of the things you described, she would trade places with you in a minute. Was it Paul that also said: “In all things, be thankful.”
    Love you,

    • Jane Thornton says:

      Thanks Aunt Lee – I know how wonderfully blessed I am. So sad that I still find myself wanting more, huh?

  5. Rebecca (Sirmans) Fagan says:

    Since I spent my early years with Jane, Nancy and those amazing parents I will venture that anytime the green eyed monster appeared, it was brief and quickly put away. A more loving family was certainly hard to find.

    • Jane Thornton says:

      Thanks, Rebecca! We are so blessed by our loving and very spite-free family! Our jealousy is usually wrapped in humor. I’m so glad you included your maiden name with your comment. We’ve been friends on FB for a while, but I am only now sure of who you are!

  6. Marilyn Eudaly says:

    Jealous, me? Didn’t think I was until God showed me exactly what I was jealous of, I would/could be jealous of families with parents like yours if I had not been taught, through the grace of God, to accept the family I have.

    • Jane Thornton says:

      So glad you have found acceptance. Perhaps your wonderful bonding with your own daughter is a result.

  7. Margarite Anderson says:

    Jane – It is so good to be able to keep up with your life from afar, and I was thrilled to hear news about Nancy, since I haven’t seen her in so very long. So interesting to hear you are sometimes jealous of people you love – me too! However, in your case, I am constantly impressed with what a talented, giving, inviting person you are. Looking forward to reading more. Good luck with your suspense novels. Hey, I would love to read one sometime.

    • Jane Thornton says:

      Thanks, Margarite! I keep trying to get Nan on Facebook, but she’s resistant. I sure hope my novels will be available some day soon – in spite of the jealousy I suffer!

  8. Lee Carver says:

    Jane, I have no sisters, but I certainly relate to jealousy of other writers when they get published and I don’t–and I KNOW my writing is better! Thank heaven I don’t need to earn a living this way. My greatest gift is choosing a kind and generous husband.

    • Jane Thornton says:

      Thanks, Lee – Glad (?) you can relate. I’m sometimes afraid God doesn’t think I can handle success with humility!

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