For me, it’s avoid. Avoid the near occasion of sin. I’ve been thinking of this as a friend recently emailed this (which to give you background she’s been married four years and is bearing the cross of infertility, what can I say, we find each other for a reason):
More bad news on the adoption front, another agency has turned us down and if one more person suggests social services I will punch them in the face as our social services agency contracts out adoptions to a private agency and that one said no too! Seriously though, every time I log into anywhere, email, facebook, instagram, for the Love of Pete LinkedIN, someone is announcing a pregnancy or birth. Each month as my cycle re-starts there is some baby product on sale at the grocery and/or drug store and a display right where you walk in. We’ve had a baby shower at work every other week for about six months now. I’m inundated and I can’t avoid it! I want to say, wow, God, can’t you throw us a bone here? An agency that doesn’t care my husband had one bout of cancer when he was two??? Just one baby??? I want to ask pregnant teenagers I see in the market if I can buy their babies. It’s terrible, this envy. And I don’t know how to stop it.
How do you avoid something that is so in your face? You have to buy groceries. You have to go to work. I supposed you could try and work in an almost exclusively male dominated industry but then there’s always the risk of an overexcited new dad.
God gave us the virtue of temperance, the self-control to resist temptations but I can see how someone in my friend’s situation can be sorely tested in this area with envy. I understand how she feels, can’t she just have a baby to love? She did everything “right.” She’s worked with pro-life physcians who were trained at the Pope Paul Institute but still cannot explain why she isn’t getting pregnant. But I know how badly she doesn’t want the sin of envy around her neck or over her head. We’ve talked and she’s praying for God to remove the desire for a child from her (I’ve prayed for the same many times in my life). She said her envy keeps bringing her back to the confessional where her kind priest has assured her that she’s still doing it right praying for God to not allow envy to overtake her heart and coming back to confession when it does. I wish I had advice. I wish I could tell her to just avoid it. But I know it’s not that simple. Our crosses may both be infertility, but hers is in some ways heavier than mine, after all I have three children already and I don’t have the work situation to deal with, so I’m offering up my pain for her struggle with envy. It’s so small and I feel, rather inadequate, but it is the best I can do.