I'll be celebrating the release of a new book tonight. No, it's not one of my books.
My friend Lucille Zimmerman has strived for six years to bring her book to publication. I'm so very happy for her. She's worked hard, and her book, Renewed, is stellar!
As I was thinking about the book launch party she's throwing tonight, I realized I was (nearly) as excited for her as I was when my first book released.
And that's what I've been pondering.
I'm blessed to be able to experience joy at someone else's good fortune. When God made me, He fashioned my heart to be a Romans 12:15 person. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
I get teary just thinking about someone else being happy and weepy when I know someone's in distress. As much as it's an inconvenience -- being so emotional can be an embarrassment -- I'm grateful I'm built this way.
I'm grateful I'm not a jealous person. I've known some jealous people, and I don't think they'll ever be truly happy or at peace. I've seen authors turn green over someone else's book contract or magazine article. It's not attractive. Someone else's accomplishment does not diminish yours, and it shouldn't affect your dreams and goals.
When I was younger I had a jealous person in my life. She's no longer in my life, but I recall her pressed lips and tight expression when she'd heard I accomplished something, been complimented, or had good fortune. I cared deeply for her, loved her, and to have her close up and not acknowledge my joy hurt me deeply. Her jealousy grew with each year. It wasn't enough for her to have the best or be the best, it seemed she didn't want others to come close to what she enjoyed. Eventually she began to disparage me to others, and I even discovered she'd told people I'd made unkind statements about them. Those lies still haunt me because I'm unable to track them down and plead to be believed that I'd never say such a thing.
I've given you a glimpse into my painful past. Despite the heartache that still visits on occasion, I've moved forward. Although she's never asked forgiveness, I've given it. The experience of going through that pain and disappointment has given me perspective. It has made me a better person. I weep more freely. I love with more abandon. I embrace others' joy and try to be a soft place for others' pains and disappointments. I've learned to look outside myself when people are going through something -- good or bad -- and respond with true enthusiasm or empathy.
I've grown in my capacity to be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. And despite the sorrow that has scarred my heart, I'm certain it wasn't a wasted time in my life. Despite my occasional tears, I'm a stronger, happier person. I'm a Romans 12:15 person.
To get back to Lucille's book -- it's fabulous. I'd like to say I read it through, but my darling daughter borrowed it and I've just recently regained possession. I started the first few chapters and was hooked! The complete title is Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. The book is beautifully written and filled with practical advice and simple tips. Buy it for your own benefit, and buy some extra copies to give away (that's what I did!).