“Your honor, I have come to file a complaint,” the plaintiff announced boldly as she smoothed her skirt and clasped her hands.
“So you have. Where is the defendant?”
“Well, she wasn’t invited, sir. I mean to have you solve this problem for me, um…without her.”
“That hardly seems fair.” The judge raised his brows and leaned forward on his bench.
“Sir, if you don’t mind? I can explain.”
“Very well; proceed.” He rubbed his beard and sat back to listen.
“Okay, your honor. You see; it’s my mother-in-law,” the plaintiff stated with a deep sigh.
“What is your offense against her?” His eyes sparkled and the corner of his mouth twitched slightly.
“Well, she’s really getting on my nerves. She shows up early when she comes over to babysit our son-“
“She comes to your house to baby-sit?”
“Yes, sir, that’s correct.”
The judge jotted a few notes. “Continue.”
“Yes, as I was saying, she always folds my laundry differently than I do. And when she takes our son outside, she insists he always wear a hat. And when she washes the dishes, she puts them away in the wrong places. And when she vacuums, she moves stuff around and doesn’t put it back where it belongs. And when she makes supper, she uses too much salt. Oh, that’s just the beginning. I just don’t know how much more I can take.”
“Yes, I see what you mean.”
Again, the judge wrote on his note pad before asking, “What do you desire to change?”
“Well, sir, I’m considering firing her and hiring a different sitter, but I know she’ll put up a fight. So, I need your support.”
“Let’s just be sure we’re on the same page here. She comes early, does your laundry, cleans your house and fixes your supper, and you don’t like it,” asked the judge, reading from his notes. He looked at her over the top of his glasses, suppressing the smile that was tugging at his lips.
“You make it sound different than it really is.”
Patiently he asked, “What do you expect to solve by firing her? Have you considered the cost?”
“No, sir, I’m just upset about her not respecting me and the way I do things.”
“What would you do with your son when you go to work?”
She took a deep breath. Now we’re getting somewhere. “Well, there’s a daycare between my home and work. I could look into that.”
“When would you do your dishes and vacuum?”
“Maybe my husband would help,” she responded hopefully. I’m sure he’d be happy to.
“Will it work for you to eat supper later, since it won’t be ready when you get home?”
“I could just pick up something on the way home. It’s only two days a week.” That would work.
“Two days a week your mother-in-law comes early so you can get ready for work while she plays with your son. She does your laundry and cleaning while you’re gone and has supper ready when you get home. How much does she charge you for her service?”
“Charge? Oh, she doesn’t charge me anything. She says it’s pure joy for her --- um, Sir, I’m suddenly feeling very uncomfortable with my case. May we take a short break, while I think this through?”
Dear Lord, thank you for hearing me today. I’m so glad I can come before you with every ‘trouble’ and you will help me see the truth. Forgive me, Lord, for my selfish ways. Thank you for my wonderful mother-in-law. I’m so grateful for your provision through her. Thank you for guiding me in your way before my thoughts came out in my actions. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere!* Amen.
*Psalm 84:10 NIV
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