I was educated in a parochial school system where nuns; real nuns, still ruled the classrooms. By real nuns, I mean those pious angelic looking creatures dressed from head to toe in black with long veils and flowing skirts who silently glided down corridors in heavy square heeled orthopedic shoes. They were gender neutral beings with clean scrubbed faces poking through circles of starched white linen. They wore heavy crosses around their necks and giant rosaries around their waists which reached to the hem of their skirts. That saintly packaging hid formidable and stern characters who swatted knuckles with rulers and matched professional pitchers with the accurateness of thrown erasers that magically appeared from hidden pockets. The Nuns of my generation could outdo even the best Jewish mother when it came to instilling lifelong guilt trips while making every subject and situation a life lesson on the damnation of our souls.
High on the list of things that led us to the weekly confessional were the repeated lectures on the Seven Deadly Sins of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. I have had my small encounters with most of the mighty seven but the one cardinal sin I have struggled with most is the sin of Envy. I once read that Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situations because we think other people are so much luckier, smarter, more attractive, or better than we are. Envy in literature is often linked symbolically to a dog or the color green, thus the term the “Green eyed monster” or Green with envy”. According to those wonderful Nuns who taught in my elementary school the punishment for dying with the sin of Envy on our soul was not only being banished to Hell but having to spending eternity in a tub of freezing water as well.
Now, I certainly know the difference between envy and jealousy and do not get me wrong, I do not want to trade places with any of the people I envied and I am thrilled and happy for them and all they accomplished in their lives, but, I am somewhat envious that my life has not yet found a way to walk the same path as some of the people I have known during my 60 plus years.
Just yesterday I found myself once again being envious of my dear husband who traveled the world visiting so many interesting places while serving in the Navy. When I mentioned this to him he admitted that he was just as envious that I had been able to spend my life in one place with my family.
Oh well, I guess it is back to the confessional for me.