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It's Easy to Be Jealous

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Sep. 26, 2014

This is an excerpt from Fr. Jim Chern’s blog. You can read the original post here.

Last week, I was in my car and flipping the channels on the radio looking for something to listen to. I happened to stumble on one of my favorite songs (from my college days), “Glycerine” by the rock band Bush – or what I thought was the song.  It turned out they were just playing a clip of it during an interview with Bush front-man/song writer Gavin Rossdale. To be honest, I rarely listen to celebrity interviews. They seem to be so scripted either to promote and spin something for me to buy, see, get worked up over - or they tend to get talking about some silly personal things in which I usually lose interest pretty quickly. But when someone like Gavin Rossdale starts to talk about the genesis for his music; the meanings or inspirations of the lyrics to the songs—those types of interviews I find fascinating. Which is what caused me to stick with this one.  A few minutes in, Gavin shared how his hit song “Machinehead” — (the one that starts out with the loud guitar riffs and the words “Breath in, Breath out…”) – was really a song about losing one’s ego – I never realized that’s what the song was about.  So the interview was interesting to me.

A few minutes later though it turned more gossipy.  I normally disconnect with this kind of information, but I had no idea that Gavin was married to Gwen Stefani (of the band No doubt) - that they’ve been married for about 12 years… and they have three children.  I was just getting ready to change the channel when Gavin started to share a really personal story.  He was asked how he deals with all the tabloid/papparazzi stuff.  He said that just a few weeks ago he was on vacation in Italy with his wife and children and on this one particular evening they were at this beautiful place.  There was an outdoor fire going which was cooking their delicious nighttime dinner.   He said he looked around at the table at his wife and kids and it was a moment he felt was almost complete perfection.  Foolishly he saw an email come in on his phone and checked it and someone had forwarded him a copy of OK magazine that had a picture of him and his wife on the cover with the headline ‘‘Split!’’  Gavin noted that this happened to be released on a day when a plane got shot down and couldn’t believe that this story - which was untrue – would even get traction. 

What got me was hearing how painful this whole episode was to him, and to his wife.  He said not only wasn’t it true but it infuriated him just seeing how people were almost wanting or wishing for him and his wife’s marriage to fail.  I had to admit that I really felt badly for them. Here they are - two highly successful music people (who were successful independently).  Somehow despite the fame and the crazy temptations that celebrities face, they find each other, marry and have a family.  Probably not without numerous challenges and difficulties.  And a moment where they are simply enjoying those blessings is disrupted by people who seem to want to tear them down.  Why?  Quite simply - jealousy.  That seems to be what drives a lot of the TMZ/Entertainment Weekly/celebrity based “media.”   Sadly there has to be a tremendous amount of public consumption for it otherwise people wouldn’t report it (if people aren’t tuning in or buying these magazines, they would disappear).  In fact there’s so much public consumption that even “legitimate” news organizations will delve into speculative, salacious reporting.   

Celebrities and other public figures are held up as people who seem highly successful - excelled in some area, have financial wealth or security, have power or influence – and that drive, that desire among many of us to be like that - to be “Famous” - rich, popular… when we don’t achieve that same level of success, it turns to anger.

We tend to obsess at things that we believe we’re missing out on, that we somehow believe we’re owed, even thinking that God has somehow skimped on us… and when we play that game, we miss how these could be challenges He wants us to overcome. That there are struggles we need to endure that will make us stronger.

In the end - what does Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale’s marriage have to do with me and my life.  You and I - each of us workers in the Lord’s vineyard - we have an incredibly unique opportunity; a gift - to work for a generous, loving landowner. Instead of focusing and comparing how God is blessing another, count your blessings and be aware that there is a purpose specifically for you with all that God gives you. Don’t let the green-eyed monster keep you from experiencing the fullness of God’s plan. His grace, mercy and love for you, and every one else, are boundless. The kingdom is big enough for all and there is nothing better.