How Then Shall We Live?

It is late, so I am going to keep this very short. Maybe I will write more about this subject later, maybe not.

I, and everyone in this situation, need your prayers.

The last two weeks have been especially hard. For whatever reason, Grandma decided she no longer wanted to have Melinda living here, and so through her means and methods she began to make life increasingly unpleasant for Melinda (and by extension for Arlan and I as well).

Last Monday Melinda was told by her father that she was to get out of Grandma’s place ASAP. I immediately began to desperately help Melinda search for an apartment.

The ugliness in the air, growing worse for some time, had been thick in the air since then. The last three days were the culmination of some nasty stuff.

Grandma deliberately antagonized Melinda Monday. Melinda held her peace in Grandma’s presence. Grandma deliberately antagonized Melinda Tuesday. Melinda held her peace in Grandma’s presence, but decided she would be best served by spending the next two nights with a friend.

Melinda came back tonight with a friend and the intention of moving some of her stuff out. Grandma immediately confronted Melinda in her room in front of Melinda’s friend and told her to get all of her stuff out of the room because it wasn’t her room anymore. Grandma left, and Melinda broke down in tears.

I didn’t hear most of the exchange, and was a little uncertain Melinda had heard right when she relayed the information to me. So I went and found Grandma and asked her what she had told Melinda. She confirmed what Melinda had told me. I then proceed probably as I shouldn’t.

I said, “Okay. Fine. But we’ll need to talk in the morning.”

“Why?” she said.

“So I can tell you how I feel about all of this,” I said. (Except nowhere near so coherently. When I get very angry/upset I lose all control over my stutter and I have great difficulty talking.)

“Why?” she said. “I don’t give a damn what you think. You don’t have any say in this.”

“Fine,” I said, “but I still want to make clear my–”

“And I have some things to tell you as well,” she said. “You’re not allowed to take my car to help Melinda, you’re not allowed to take my car and run any errands for Melinda.” She may have enumerated several more you’re-not-allowed-to’s but ended up with, “When Melinda leaves this house she is going to have to learn to live on her own, she’s not getting any help from here.”

“Okay,” I said. “Do you have anything more to say?”

“No,” she said.

So I left.

Next I woke up Arlan (who had already gone to bed) and told him what was up. Next I called Dad and told him we needed prayer.

Arlan, myself, and Melinda’s friend helped Melinda get her stuff out and into Melinda’s friend’s car and Arlan’s car. Grandma checked to make sure we didn’t take any of Grandma’s stuff, and to make sure all of Melinda’s stuff was out.

So, Melinda has put in for an apartment (but doesn’t know if she will get it or not, yet,) which won’t be available in any case until the first of July. Melinda’s car was supposedly repaired from her last car problem, but she said tonight that it was still acting funny and she didn’t feel that it was really safe to drive long distances. She is staying with the mother of a friend and hour away in Pennsylvania. She is supposed to be to work tomorrow at the Old Country Buffet in the Vestal Town Square Mall.

The situation doesn’t really need commentary. Has Melinda been perfect while she has lived here? Most certainly not. There are ways she could have lived differently and avoided this. But whatever her failures, they do not excuse Grandma. In the renting agreement Melinda looked at she was told that if she trafficked in illegal drugs she would be given three days to vacate the apartment. That is what strangers give strangers for the worst offense. Without a screaming argument, without even the offense of a raised voice, Grandma gave her granddaughter a night.

To me, this is clearly the work of a very obvious, blatant, and direct satanic attack. Not only is Grandma being unchristian but she is being grossly unwise from the perspective of the most worldly wisdom. To show such contempt for the very help that you are dependent upon defies all reason. She has been acting self-destructive to the extreme. And I am aware of at least in some ways Satan is using this as an attack on me . . . I believe, according to the conviction that God has laid on my heart, that I should stay and care for Grandpa as long as I am able. So Satan is directly, and with full force, challenging that conviction. He would like to see exactly what hell I’m really willing to endure, and God in accord with His grace and wisdom, has decided to allow me to be tested.

Oh, but I am a weak, weak man. I did not acquit myself with perfect holiness this evening already. As perhaps an insightful reader would pick up, my words to Grandma had at least a seed of self-righteous indignation. I wanted to protest my indignation and wrath, in that fleshly part of me I wanted her to have no doubt as to my disapproval. That attitude was and is wrong.

I’m not sure that what I said in itself was intrinsically wrong. There is some part of me that is glad (God knows if it is a good part) that I did verbally offer some protest. I may not have offered it the way I should have, but something in me still feels that it was right to not let what happened to Melinda pass in complete silence.

But I don’t intend to talk to Grandma about it in the morning. When I spoke to Dad after my conversation with Grandma he counseled that there was no wisdom or holy profit in speaking to Grandma as she made it clear that she had no interest in hearing what I had to say. I agree with the wisdom and truth in that, especially since the only possible true and right thing I could convey would be the bare substance of my protest and that has already been done, and anything more would be just an expression of self-righteousness.

But we really need your prayers here, in so many ways. Arlan and I are both extremely torn as to how we should act. There is certainly a lot of fleshly emotions raging like a fire, with Satan throwing on kindling as fast as he can. I can’t speak for Arlan, but right now I really feel at a loss as to understanding how I should act. I have just witnessed one of the grossest acts of wrong committed by one family member against another family member. How should I conduct myself in the days ahead?

Right now I feel sick. Not physically sick, but sick at heart and distraught. I don’t know what to think. I expect the anger will come later, probably days later, when I least expect it, flaring up at some small thing that Grandma will do. Oh, yes, Satan knows me well.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to act. From what I know of Grandma she will either try to pretend that nothing has happened, or, more likely, she will give some apology that isn’t really an apology, giving some excuse or explanation for telling me she didn’t give a damn what I thought and then go on to justify to me why everything she did to Melinda was right. It strikes me as gross hypocrisy to act as if nothing happened or to pretend in any what that I find Grandma’s justifications acceptable.

But I should forgive her, no matter what, because God has forgiven me in Christ. But I need much grace for that.

But how should I act? My desire is to say nothing . . . and on first glance that may look to have wisdom, but I know that behind it there is a great vindictive desire to punish Grandma through the “silent treatment.” Oh, yes, I’m good at the silent treatment.

So I’m brought back to feeling that the right thing to do would be to continue on my life as before. Grandma comes into the kitchen tomorrow morning and says, “Good morning,” and I say “Good morning,” even though it isn’t a good morning? Ask her how her blood-pressure was last night? Ask her how she is feeling? Talk about the weather?

If I were living by the Spirit I would conduct myself with kindness, compassion, long suffering, and peace that comes from the Spirit. But amidst all the conflicting emotions it is hard to see clear to what that means in the practicality of day to day living, and after seeing it, to actually live it.

So pray for me. Pray for Arlan. And yes, pray for Grandma too. Pray for her most of all, as one who will soon meet her maker and give an accounting for all she has done in her life, good and bad. Pray for Grandpa. Pray for Melinda.

My life since coming to live with Grandma and Grandpa has always been marked by a certain degree of uncertainty as I didn’t know how healthy either of them would be from week to week and didn’t know, in effect, if they would die tomorrow. But now my life is marked (for the present) by even greater uncertainty and trouble. Grandma has demonstrated such a reckless disregard for any form of wisdom that she could do just about anything. I don’t know how much she thought she was restricting me with her list of I wasn’t allowed to do, but while I respect her authority over her possessions she has no authority over my person. If she thinks she laid down the line so that I won’t help Melinda anymore, she is mistaken. I won’t help Melinda with Grandma’s possessions, but if Melinda needs help moving into an apartment I will help her. There are other cars I can avail myself of.

And, given the way Grandma is acting, I could conceive her of saying when I came back from helping Melinda that I was to take my stuff and get out of the house since I wasn’t living according to her rules. That would be insane of her, but she seems to be acting pretty insanely. So, I could end up home in two weeks, who knows. While I can conceive it, I doubt it. I expect Grandma will probably cool over the next few days and decide that maybe she better be a little more careful.

Who knows. I don’t.

Certainly she had made it abundantly clear what her ethical standard is, and as I’ve already said before, this is a clear indication of the nature of things to come.

I don’t know how coherent all of that was, but there it stands.

This entry was posted in Spiritual. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How Then Shall We Live?

  1. Teague says:

    The subject of faith is not our service of God, but His work in and through us.

    Were His work easily seen and readily understood, there would be no faith.

Comments are closed.