Guests at the Heart Banquet

Photo by Jenny Downing

Candlelight flickered on the sparkling crystal. The room was filled with the rich fragrance of dozens of gardenias, lilacs, and roses that filled the antique vase adorning the deep mahogany table. Heavy linen napkins ornately folded stood like stately soldiers beside bone china place settings. Each setting was perfectly suited for the guest who would soon be seated in the heavy chairs. Aromas wafted through the air … a hint of the meal that would be served.

One by one the guests were seated. The hostess stood to thank those who had gathered … memories filled the room of times shared together and the relationships that had been forged through both sorrow and joy.

When suddenly, one guest, invited just like all the others, began to notice something …

First, the guest noticed that she was seated farthest away from the hostess.
Then she realized that she had been thanked last … after all she’d done for the hostess.
As she continued to take note of all the ways she’d been slighted, she also began to make comments about the other guests …

“She’s not as gracious as you think.”
“Oh, she’s only patient if you agree with her.”
“She’s kind … because it helps her get what she wants.”

Suddenly the lovely evening had become a disaster. The hostess was baffled by the behavior of her guest … shocked by her unseemly comments and haughty demeanor. Embarrassed and uncertain, the hostess found herself trying to explain her guest’s actions and words.

“You have no idea what she’s been through. Her life has been very painful.”
“She’s always been insecure.”
“Once you get to know her, she’s really not that way.”

And yet, as her guests departed one by one, the hostess knew the truth. She had invited a dangerous guest … she had known the potential existed for just such an occurrence … but she had been close to this guest for many years … and was, quite honestly, uncertain how to remove her influence … not sure even if she wanted to do so.

Jealousy … invited and welcomed  …  had become a part of the hostess’s heart … ingrained inside.  Constantly  measuring of others and determining herself better. Rationalizing and justifying.   Jealousy had become her closest friend.

And once Jealousy has a hold of your heart and mind, removing her green tentacles from the farthest reaches of yourself becomes a lifelong challenge. The hostess learned a painful lesson:  When we set a banquet table the guests will feast … be very careful who you invite to join you at the table of your heart.

Has jealousy become an invited guest at your heart’s table?  How do you deal with feelings of envy?

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