I had spent the last academic session trusting God for divine academic prowess, grace to succeed beyond my equals; to be the best graduating student of my class. I did my homework quite well; increased my course load, studied and prayed a lot. But then, through it all, I wanted God's will to ultimately be done: I wanted to succeed on God's terms.

Then came the end of the session and I got know that I had graduated with a distinction grade; this was followed by congratulatory messages and calls from colleagues, friends and families. But still there was this great need to know if I had graduated the valedictorian. I accepted the messages with gratitude, not total gratitude though, still in anticipation of the greater news I thought. I just had to be the valedictorian; I had done the calculations correctly and felt it had to follow that natural course.

It had always felt great and easier being at the top of the class at the release of exam results; being the one congratulating my friends that we all passed that I didn't know how to process the news that my friend was the valedictorian.

I felt that I deserved that award more than he did even though he was a very hardworking fellow. I just found myself struggling with being genuinely happy for that fellow, a very good friend of mine. This feeling though momentarily was something I couldn't immediately identify; and I didn't like that feeling either. I got over that feeling almost immediately because I knew it was the beginning of something I didn't want to get to the end of.

Envy is a deadly poison, not exactly like an atomic bomb, a slow poison more likely that destroys a person from within. It could start with an unignited spark which dies off almost immediately; but those sparks might just be the beginning of a less than optimum life.

The ability to be genuinely happy for individuals when good things happen to them is a gift which I intend to covet earnestly with the Holyspirit. This gift is indeed one of the keys to a healthier; the kind of life I want.

I didn't graduate the valedictorian of my class but I was very much happier and joyful than the valedictorian of my class on our valedictory ceremony. I even offered him what I bet was one of the most sincere congratulatory hugs he got that day. And yes, I still very much like the valedictorian. I had achieved a feat; destroyed the root of an unhealthy need to succeed. I still obviously wanted to excel in other life endeavors but not with an unhealthy attitude. And I definitely know that was God's will for me.

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