I don't understand hate. I am talking about both serious-hate and joking-hate, because let's face it, joking-hate has elements of serious-hate about it or we would never think about giving it the "h" label. Joking about it may indeed be a cathartic way to allow ourselves to feel a bit of the emotion and by treating it lightly, hopefully rid us of the bitterness before it burrows deep inside our souls. That's the best case scenario, but I venture to say that that's not always what happens.
I have never had so many people tell me they hate me (and Dean) as this past week while we were in Hawaii. It was ridiculous! And while I know all of them meant it in a joking way, I wonder what they were really trying to say. Was it: "I am jealous that you are warm and I am cold?" "I hate it that I can't take a vacation right now?" "I hate it that you have the means to go there and I don't?" "You are reminding me that I might never get to do some of the things I have always dreamed of doing?" "I am just tired and impatient right now?" "Why don't things work out well for me when they seem to be working out for others?" "It is insensitive and annoying when others rub in their good fortune!" None of these are responses that I expected from friends. Honestly.
I expected them to be happy that Dean was finally getting a much-needed break from his overwhelming work schedule. I expected them to join in our joy at being able to go to a place that I never dreamed we would get to (but we did thanks to recession-influenced prices, airmile reward points, and parents who know how to get a good deal). I expected them to be relieved that the warm climate would help us finally get over the last of these horrible colds and infections that we have been battling for months. And I guess I expected that they would know that we were extremely grateful for such an unexpected treat like a trip to Hawaii, and that we were not flaunting it at all with pictures and status updates on Facebook, but trying to bring a bit of Hawaii to them. Somehow, that didn't come across.
That reminds me of a scholarship that I did not get earlier this year. A few weeks ago, a fellow student let it be known that she had been successful in her application for this same scholarship. People around her offered hearty congratulations, and she glowed with pleasure and excitement. I was silent. I didn't hate her, but her joy reminded me of my lack of success and it stung. And then I recognised the distasteful sensation of jealousy poking at my heart, so I asked myself some provoking questions to get to the root of the matter.
Does she deserve it? Absolutely. Does she have need of it? Probably much more than I do. Do I want to trade situations with her? Not really. I have a great life and a wonderful support system. Do I want her to do well in her education and be all she can be? For sure. Am I glad that people in my department are receiving these coveted scholarships? Yes, yes, yes. Do I trust that God can provide everything I need? Well, I want to, yes. Do I believe that he is not a stingy God but a gift-giving God? It has to be true or I am sunk. Do I believe that this denial is in my best interest? Yes, I choose to believe that. I don't understand it, but I believe it. Do I recognise that the story is not finished yet? I am counting on it.
Your Hawaii is coming, my friend. Don't you worry. And when it does, I hope I will not joking-hate you. I hope I will be jumping up and down with genuine joy.
Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have,
Trusts God always, always looks for the best,
Never looks back, but keeps going to the end. - from 1 Cor. 13
This is a photo of the lagoon at Hilton Village on Waikiki Beach. We didn't stay at this hotel, but one a block away.