When my younger sister gained admission into the university, I had just graduated and was awaiting NYSC posting. The admission list that contained her name was released when lectures had gone past one month so I offered to do her clearance and hostel run-arounds while she busied herself with lectures and updating notes. The day I got to the Student Affairs Department, the man who was to attend to me looked at the passport photographs, gave me a wrinkled look and said, “This is obviously not you, right? Because, unlike you, she’s pretty”. He repeated himself more than once as though he wanted to nail his opinion deep into my head. I replied that I knew that my sister was a head-turner and I’d heard that a thousand and one times.
More than once, I’d go to the gym with her and when she didn’t like a routine, she’d put her hands on her waist and the instructor would move to her and pat her on the back and encourage her to work it. I would be sweating myself out and if I was genuinely tired and wanted to pause and catch a breath, the same instructor would sneer at me and say, “look at you”.
Were occurrences like this enough to make me stop standing on queues with first years for my sister? Or paying the gym entry fee for her? Of course not. It was not just because I had a degree in knowledge of self-worth but mainly because I love her. Stuff like that didn’t bother me. They only formed topics for light-hearted discussions between us. Did someone just say, “She’s your sister. Why won’t you love her?” Park well, joor. When the bible says love your neighbours (fellow humans), it didn’t put the love in categories. Love conquers all, including that emotion called envy.
There’ll always be someone who folks find more attractive than you, more brilliant or more adorable. There’ll be times when someone emerges from nowhere and steals the show while you become relegated to the background.
King Saul was there. Imagine being king for years, leading your people through many battles and capturing lands only for one small handsome boy called David to come and become the people’s darling in just one day. The women were busy clapping and shaking their bumbum for him and calling him a better warrior than the king. Envy crept in and he began to plot David’s death.
If we saturate our hearts with God’s love, we’ll find that instead of hating and nursing ill-thoughts towards people who are doing better than we are or getting more attention than we are, we’ll be happy for them and celebrate them too.
PS: Each of us is better in something than someone else. We just seem to forget that and focus our thoughts on where others seem better.