Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)
TITLE: ALL IN THE FAMILY
By Dolores Stohler
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Our Lord told us that we should love our enemies and do good to those who hurt us but I wish he’d made a special reference to loving our in-laws. You know, those rather strange people you feel obliged to invite into your home and share your great cooking. You try to mix them up with your family but, somehow, they just don’t fit in. And if they make an unwanted comment about your food, or a remark that implies you aren’t good enough for their daughter (or son) you may feel like throwing the turkey at them. Well, don’t! It’s better to just ignore it and offer them a piece of humble pie.
Back in 1957, I married Tony, a man of another race. He was Hispanic, highly intelligent, full of charm, a talented chef and had the most gorgeous brown eyes. My three children and six grandkids have all inherited those eyes, much to my delight. At the time of our wedding, I thought he was wonderful but my parents didn’t. They were shocked that I would consider marrying someone who wasn’t blue-eyed and fair-skinned like me. But, after the initial shock, (we eloped) they accepted him into the family and treated him with courtesy and respect. I knew they didn’t love him but they hid their feelings well.
It wasn’t the same with my husband’s family, however. They went out of their way to show me I wasn’t welcome and, although my Spanish was poor, I knew enough to understand the racial slurs they threw around in my presence. After a while, by mutual agreement, we ceased to visit them, maintaining contact only with the two brothers who didn’t think I was such a bad person. I should mention also that, before our marriage, my husband switched from Catholicism to the Protestant faith I‘d grown up with. That, combined with my race, made me totally evil in the eyes of my father-in-law.
Tony passed away 36 years ago but, if he were alive right now, he would give thanks along with me that inter-racial marriages are now acceptable and that it’s not O.K. to make racial slurs about a person you dislike. By the same token, I believe it should be out of bounds to make mother-in-law jokes, or arf-arf remarks to a girl whose face doesn’t please you. And the list goes on and on. There are people walking our streets who take insults for granted because they’ve heard them so often. But just because they’ve learned to ignore them, it doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting inside. Their tears may touch the heart of the creator who made them. And they may be beautiful people inside.
I have other in-laws now, some whom I love and some who never quite accepted me as one of the family. When I am with them, I look for ways to complement them or show them a bit of kindness. I like to remind myself that we’re all part of God’s huge family, created in His image and sharing in His creation, a creation as varied and wonderful as the universe we abide in.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23 NIV)
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