Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ENVY (jealousy of another’s advantage) (02/12/15)
- TITLE: Worthless
By Trace Pezzali
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The salesman bends over the pieces with a jeweller’s magnifying glass. His fingers are nicotine stained. There’s a mole on his neck. His oily hair is thinning on top.
When he looks at me, there’s a black tooth in his grin. “Cubic zirconia, of some quality. Fairly good imitation Rolex.”
“Impossible! He said –“ I shut my mouth quickly.
‘Nothing but the best for you, my Elly.’ I can feel Andrew’s kiss on my neck, from that moment he’d fastened the necklace.
I leave the pawn shop with barely enough cash to cover the plane trip I don’t want to take. The Property Manager was smug when the Judge set termination of the lease. Is there any way out of running back home to Mum? Yuk. I’m not telling her everything.
I’m vaguely conscious of being carried along in the current of pedestrians. Suddenly a hand jerks me backwards at the same time a horn blasts. I’m hit by a wall of air, and realise I would have been hit by a truck. I turn around, but there’s only blank faces waiting to cross the street.
Delicate as porcelain teetering on a shelf about to fall, I make my way to the city square where I can sit in shade and recover. The preacher I usually laugh at is there. Normally I wouldn’t give him another glance, but today I’m arrested by him. His voice carries above the noise:
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
A tranquil heart… what does that even feel like? My earliest memory is the hiding I got after accidentally breaking Sally’s doll. This doll was beautiful: ringlets, rosebud mouth, blinking eyes, and petticoats. I’ve always wanted what I didn’t have. It’s exhausting.
The first time I saw Andrew’s wife was at an office party. She sashayed in on her husband’s arm, svelte form sheathed in champagne satin, and diamond frosting at her neck and wrist. Everyone gave a collective gasp when she walked into the room. Beauty. Expensive clothes. Handsome, accomplished husband. That’s the life I want.
Of course, maxing out the credit cards to wear an imitation of success has now left me in debt. The long illicit affair I’d instigated, has today cost me my job and reputation. Not before Andrew’s promises filled my heart with a perfect future.
I catch the preacher’s words again: “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbour. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”
You’ve got that right. It’s all come to nothing. My endeavours have proven as worthless as I am.
“Friends, we take great stock in the opinion of others for affirmation and acceptance. But human love is always flawed, and so our need to seek validation is relentless. Only God is unfailing and complete in His love and acceptance.” The young man raises both arms and cries upwards, “Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”
Suddenly, my heart’s hammering in my chest. I almost sob aloud I want that love!
The preacher stares straight at me. “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.’ ”
The next minute, he’s crossed the distance between us, and he’s kneeling before me, and I’m crying yet I’m so happy I could jump and leap and dance. He takes my hands in his and says, “Pay attention to Him now, take His peace, accept your righteousness.”
Scripture quoted: Prov 14:30; Eccl 4:4; Psalm 86:4-5 ESV; Isaiah 48:17-18 NIV
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