On this edition of “Becoming Today”, we’ll look at this green day in a number of different and totally unrelated ways….
First let’s begin with why the 17th of March always required me to wear green. As the very secular observance of St. Patrick’s day is observed, my first memories of the “holiday” had to do with not forgetting to wear green clothes to school.
If you didn’t you would be pinched. Yes physically, groped and grabbed, by today’s interpretation I believe what some, especially the girls endured, qualifies under the law as at least third degree sexual assault – unwanted touching.
Then when we started to reach a certain age of development, the harassment intensified, as the chanting of “Erin Go Braugh” was altered by the boys. Now I remember the teachers telling us the expression meant ‘Happy St Patrick’s Day” in Irish. It doesn’t, more widely accepted as translated “Ireland Forever”, with hindsight it really was quite a political statement as back in the day the I R A and their battles against English rule were quite active and bloody.
Something we knew even as children, because there were I R A recruiters and “fund raisers” in the neighborhood, many openly tied to organized criminal activities to finance their efforts.
Anyway back to the boys like the O’Wisniewskis, O’Müllers and O’Balchunas, who when they began to notice we were endowed differently than they were, began their own terrorizing chant of ‘Erin- Go- Bra-less”.
So green it was each year for self protection and then you’d spend part of your instruction time, cutting shamrocks out of green construction paper, so you could write your family name, with an added o – apostrophe in front of it, because on St. Patrick’s Day everyone was Irish. The only ones exempt from altering their identities were the Irish kids, who actually had names like O’Shaunessy, O’Connell and O’Brien.
Anyway in my youth as a person of mixed Bohemian, Scottish, British, hillbilly, Choctaw roots, in mid-March I was expected to be Irish. And the myths lived in my mind for a long time afterwards.
I now know, among the many other differences I’ve shared, that Patrick was not assigned that name at birth and he wasn’t even Irish.
You can revisit an earlier conversation we shared, “St Patrick: Real and Imagined” to hear more of formative memories as learn the truth behind the man, myth and legends.
Now I’ll explain how green is involved in what I need to release through this “Lenten Letter”:
I trust you are wearing the protective green of our youth as you read this, however I need to speak with you today about letting go of another type of green.
Not clothing, paper shamrocks or vegetable dyed rivers, but the kind of green that can really cause us pain.
Shockingly it’s not even the type of energy that some politicians remain fearful of. Rather it’s the implied skin color we exhibit when we find ourselves falling into the trap of jealousy.
“Being green with envy”. I’m still not certain why the association between the two, but I do know that when we allow ourselves to become jealous we are definitely less appealing and less healthy.
Also referred to as the green eyed monster, again a reference I’ve never quite grasped, I do unfortunately know that these emotions of bitterness and discontent do nothing to help us.
A result of insecurity empowered by hate, jealousy and the grudges and mistrust it spawns not only do not assist us, they prevent us from achieving and receiving the true things we desire.
As The Passion Translation records Proverbs 27:4, “The rage and anger of others can be overwhelming, but it’s nothing compared to jealousy’s fire”. Plus in Job 5:2 we can read, “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple”.
Perhaps it’s best explained in the book of James:
“But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.
For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind”.
I remind you of these verses, because I know you can accept the wisdom contained within.
Yes, jealousy is one of those struggles we all face, however I fear that society is embracing that weakness more and more. I pray you are not falling into that trap.
Recently I found myself backsliding a bit in that direction and fortunately was able to notice it and take action to divert my thoughts to more compelling things.
That assisted in the moment, yet I swear I saw that monster’s ugly reflection in the mirror this morning, so I’m taking another step towards slaying it. Talking about it.
I admit I’m struggling with the doubt and insecurity seemingly linking several current circumstances, so I am communicating that to release me from its power. Now I’m also addressing the need to remove myself from the false judgments that empower envy.
It is a fine line between observation and judgment and I am willing to admit I have croissant to the wrong side far too often. No rushing to condemn here, not being overly harsh with myself, however self critique requires me to regain my strength in the truth by giving it up.
And this is where you can help. By holding me accountable. Reminding me of the virtues of a jealous free zone in my heart. Of the rewards of being compassionate and living righteously and honoring the greatest command of loving one another as He has loved us.
After all, isn’t that the ultimate goal of this Lenten season, to live more in alignment with the divine?
Let me know your thoughts,
I am again encouraging you to consider doing your own exercise similar to our ongoing effort. Whether in a journal, a document, video diary or scribbled on the back of a receipt just select whatever form you feel most comfortable with.
Plus just because I’ll be doing them daily, you don’t need to, just set your own standards and goals as for the frequency.
Think about it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. Consider it and then decide to join us for another Lenten Letter, tomorrow on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.
Oh, and before we go allow me to add another form of green into our conversation, as we head into the weekend with a totally unrelated musical interlude: