Football and Pie.

I don’t think it would be fair to call what I’m doing “watching” football. It’s more a combination of heavy breathing, pacing,  arm-flailing, and taking minutes away from the TV to look at pictures of family and friends and remember there is life outside of this game…right? There’s just so much pressure when you get to the play-offs. Only room for the best: the glorious nature of competition!

And oh my gosh! Add “not breathing” to the list. This game (Ravens/Broncos) is killing me!!! This is just awful!!!! I can’t watch! Good time to focus on the smaller screen in front of me. Good time to remember my favorite quote of all time- thank you Patron Saint of Katie Quotes, Anne Lamott- the one that reminds me that despite the outcome of this game, there really is room for all of us on the winner’s podium (And I am REALLY trying to believe that right now!!!)

Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.
But I don’t believe it for a second.
I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork.

I love this because I too maintain that there is no pie but that we should all have our forks on hand just in case I’m wrong, which is always a huge possibility.

When I am reminded that there’s enough for everyone I think of the incorrigibly outspoken Samaritan woman, arguing with Jesus “there is enough. I’m sure of it. Enough for you and me and us and them.” I think of the audacity it took to turn the whole assumption of The Pie on its head.

I’m reminded of the people in my life who experience real joy in other people’s joy- the people who don’t see someone else’s celebration as a deposit in their insecurity account- and I am so thankful to have them in my life. The consequence they suffer (which I’m pretty sure is not how they understand it but how I see it!) in their openness to joy is that they also leave themselves open to pain and are usually the first to be with and beside those who are hurting. They were somehow born knowing and accepting that it is impossible to selectively shut off parts of ourselves; to feel the fullness of joy we must be able to dig into the depths of hurt.

Relationship has become such system of exchange. From the very meaningful, “I’ll sacrifice for you if you’ll sacrifice for me” to the really stupid, “I got the bill last time. It’s your turn.” And we believe that this is necessary to maintain the balance, to ration out the slowly dwindling Pie. In the process of keeping things “balanced”, we’re using the accolades and accomplishments of others to deplete our sense of self-worth: the dream internship, the book deal, the ring, the raise, the chance we had been waiting for that went to someone else.

I’m not saying it’s best to deny our feelings and needs. No, I’m not saying we should deny these at all. What I want to know is if there is a moment’s pause between the clarity of our desires and the jealousy of the other’s experience, if we can separate what arises in us from the celebration of another. Because when we don’t do this, when we continue to see every success or disappointment as currency, we’re exhausted. The life is sucked out of us. This is why healthy relationships, the kind that don’t function under the assumption of “only so much for all of us” feel so life giving.

In this season of play-off football and awards shows and the like 28th or something season start up of American Idol, I have to remember to take this dog-eat-dog entertainment lightly and to not buy into the myth they help perpetuate: the myth of The Pie.

Love and truth are precious and renewable resources. Regardless of whether I unpack my fork or not, there is enough now and there always will be.

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and side note: RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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