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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)

TITLE: Battle in the Parking Lot
By Mary Lang


There it is, her shiny, new Mini-Cooper in the parking spot closest to the employee entrance. I don’t know why it annoys me when SHE gets to work early – well in all honesty I do. I am jealous of her.

I feel the heavy cape of envy cover my shoulders.

Most days I can shake off the binding of the wrap if I remember the commandments: “Thou shalt not covet…”, or “Love thy neighbor…”, but just a few minutes ago, I had an argument with my husband about income, again – or lack of it. Reliving the moment, it’s as if the earth gives way beneath me and the financial hole we’re in becomes a crater. “God, where’s my help?”

I embrace the cape and wrap it tighter to cover the nakedness of my frustration and anger. I even put up the hood.

Peeking out from my blinded position all I can see is that SHE has a husband who retired wealthy from a productive career, and SHE doesn’t have to work. So, why is SHE here so early?

Inside that shroud of jealous judgment I throw my pity party. I think I am alone, but a silky voice purrs: “She only works so she can have 'play' money. The pittance you’re earning just throws a spoonful of dirt in the hole you have.”

SHE is one of those employees who can schmooze with the boss and charm co-workers to confide their deepest secrets. Even I succumb to her charisma, and remembering our talks, I am aware that I am hypocritical as well.

The velvety voice whispers in my mind: “She’s sickeningly sweet: everyone loves her. You should be their confidant, not her.”

I sink deeper into the folds of the duplicitous cape of envy, misery my comforter.

The smooth voice taunts: “She married a man old enough to be her daddy. He takes care of her. Your man is a recovering alcoholic. Who’s taking care of whom at your house?”

I feel clammy sitting in my car. The cape of green is beginning to bind too tight as if it has a life of its own. My stomach hurts. I don’t like how I feel or where this is going. I know SHE doesn’t deserve this narrow-minded dissertation.

Relentlessly the voice hisses: “She’s got money, pricey clothes, and expensive jewelry. She doesn’t have to work. Look at her wealth. Now look at yourself. Pitiful, isn’t it?”

I am not prepared for envy’s debilitating power today. My head feels ready to explode. I must get over this so I can function and do my job, or I’ll have to go home because I’m truly sick.

I plead with God, “Father! Have mercy on me. I don’t want this attack to continue. Send your grace to end it.”

Taking a cleansing breath, I feel the cloak loosen and the hood fall. I strain and listen.

The velvety voice is silent.

I exit my car. I am freed of the downward pull of covetousness. I take another steadying breath and on shaky legs, walk into the office.

I had succumbed to sin, but I realize I am rescued once again by God. My heart is humbled and grateful for His swift response. I know I’ll clash with envy another time in another battle, but I also know that there is One who gives support and strengthens me.

All I have to do is ask.

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This article has been read 413 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jennifer Galey10/29/09
I liked how envy was embodied as a cape. Great visual for the reader!
Dan Blankenship 10/29/09
Great message about how often we struggle with envy. I thought the main character was going to throw a brick threw the windshield of the Mini-Cooper. Glad she didn't. :-)

May God bless!

Dan Blankenship
Eileen Knowles10/30/09
Really enjoyed this piece! You did a good job at showing how envy can overtake us.