Hey . . . That’s Mine!

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“Though grief is a lonely journey, it is far better than vengeance.”—Carey Richard

I once fancied myself a flower child—free love and all that. I missed the free love part—couldn’t get past my Protestant upbringing. Still though, I believed in the freedom principle. Those were insubordinate times, but looking back, it all seems rather innocent. We listened to ballads about peace, and love, and everybody getting along. We protested the war. We smoked a lot of acrid pot.

We would say things like, “If you love someone you will set them free.” Had something to do with not owning anything or anyone. We were free from materialism, encumbrances, and envy—or at least that was the plan. It didn’t really work out like we imagined.

Jealousy is not one of those emotions that is easily managed. It’s primitive. One of the first things we learn to say is, “It’s mine!” We have a primal yearn for exclusivity, especially regarding our lovers.

Jealousy, it seems, has something to do with affections. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Song of Solomon 8:6 NLT

There is a toxic kind of jealousy and there is a healthy kind of jealousy. We spot the difference almost innately. The toxic kind leads to irrational obsession. The healthy kind leads to acceptance, and sometimes, grief or loss.

I think that owning a person is not necessarily a bad thing. To own someone, and keep them to yourself as a cherished possession seems sensible. But it is true that you cannot keep a lover beyond his will. And it’s probably true that you cannot change a person. They must change themselves. And they must love themselves. And they must choose to love you.

I suppose that, in the end, jealousy is wasted emotional energy. But like the grave, jealousy cannot be denied. You will pay jealousy’s toll with either vengeance or grief. And though grief is a lonely journey it is far better than vengeance.

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