1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23
1 Cor 15:45-49
Turning the other Cheek
The other day I was talking to a dear friend of mine. She was full of good news about work opportunities that connect very deeply to her passions. As I listened I found myself with two very different responses. One was “GREAT!” The other was “how come she gets to do that… and here I am…” Clearly I was at mixed odds with my two very different reactions. Fortunately, for both my friend and for myself I spoke only my first reaction.
The readings from February 19th rang within me as I heard them at the liturgy. In fact as I listened to the reading from 1 Samuel, my thoughts turned to the gospel reading of the day. That concept of turning the other cheek, or not getting even can be such a hard concept to really live, at least for me. David saw his mortal enemy asleep and he could have easily “taken him out” as the television shows talk about in the crime programs. However, he chose to model not revenge, but turning the other cheek.
In our culture we are rewarded for not only finding the challenges, but for overcoming them. Often the fuel that motivates some of those successes is jealousy or personal pride. We use another person or company, as our comparison marker. Sometimes our goal is to do as well as, but often it is to do better than that marker.
As my friend and I continued to talk, I decided to tell her what was going on inside of me. I was grateful for the grace and courage to admit to the jealousy brought up inside of me as I heard of her good fortune. I left our conversation feeling much more connected to her. I also left the conversation humbled by how quickly jealousy sprang up within me. It took absolutely no effort to feel my burning cheek, but it took a conscious decision to allow love to enter the conversation.