I struggle immensely with sibling rivalry.
When I was little, my brother Joe and I were at Jordan and Kendall’s house. We had all known each other more or less since birth, and yet we were all predictably nasty to each other every now and again, being around 4-7 years old at the time. On this particular occasion, playing in Jordan’s basement, we discovered that everyone there, except for me, could do a cartwheel. I don’t know if the other kids actually made fun of me for it, or if I just felt ashamed without their help, but it was a terrible feeling for me. When my dad saw me crying about it, he came downstairs and taught me how to do a backwards somersault so I could regain my place in the kiddy pack. When I showed the other 3 my new trick, they were impressed and excited and wanted to know how to do it. My instinct was, “No! This is MY trick, and MY daddy taught it to me, and it’s MINE and I can do it better than you.” My dad’s reaction was, “Come on, guys! I can teach you all how to do it!” I was extremely disappointed when, at the end of the exchange, everyone in the basement could do a backwards somersault, but I still couldn’t do a cartwheel. I wasn’t happy that now we all had something in common or that my dad had just invested so much time in us. I was just jealous and angry. Well, I was jealous and angry for the 2 or 3 minutes that any little kid can really retain a single emotion.
I haven’t grown up, really, since then.
When I was 16, my dad took my brother and I on a trip to Nicaragua with several other people from our church. It was a turning point in my life! At home, I wasn’t very popular or pretty or successful, but in this oasis, I had a place. I could speak Spanish! I could communicate and play and laugh! I could do a backward somersault, even if I couldn’t do the cartwheels everyone at home could do. Soon after that first trip, I found out other kids from my area had started going to Nicaragua, too. Over time, the list grew and grew; the people who were going weren’t even people who I knew as “Christians”, or at least not the kind I was aware of then. As a Christ-follower, I subscribed to a faith in which all other believers are my brothers and sisters. But when my Father taught them all how to do backward somersaults in Nicaragua, and I still couldn’t do cartwheels in Virginia, I wasn’t excited that I had people to share that joy with. I wasn’t happy that my Father had invested so much time in us. I was just jealous and angry.
I’m honestly still jealous and angry. My head knows full well that it’s a magnificent thing that so many people I know personally have invested their lives in a place and a people I care about. My head knows that Jesus is smiling like crazy when he sees us covered in sweat and craft supplies down there by the equator. But my heart is sad that I can’t stake my claim on this land and hoard the treasure there. My selfish, selfish heart wants recognition for fulfilling some of the bare requirements of my faith. It’s petty sibling rivalry that is taking over a potentially beautiful part of my heart and freezing it over with jealousy and the lies of our world.
This is a terrible part of me that I want to confess and give up. Shannon Rosedale, Hillary Unis, Jessica Morningstar, and tons of other girls I have encountered over the past few years: I am dead jealous of you all and for that I want to ask your forgiveness. You are my sisters, not figuratively, but literally. We’ve all chosen the same Father and I want to get to know and love you so that we can all do somersaults together with our brown sisters and eventually unfreeze my selfish heart and let God grow it back.
Que Dios les bendiga y que El me quite los celos antes que se me olvide amar.