Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
TITLE: DELIVERED BY LAUGHTER
By Ramona Cook
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Each member of the in-law family were both admirable, for their many accomplishments in the community, and very inner-family socially dysfunctional. I was a good fit for that group because I had grown up inner-family socially dysfunctional too.
When there is no normal pattern by which comparison can be made, most anything looks normal, it is my contention that each one viewed themselves as the standard of “normal.” Probably the truth is that each one was struggling to survive.
My sister-in-law, like me, had grown up securely poor. That translates to there was food, shelter, and clothing, but no surplus of money. There was however, the desire to improve the standard of living and to be a productive citizen, so she had educated now to the level of working on a Doctorate in Education. I was still puttering around in Community College courses with no idea of where it would take me. My desire was to serve God in The Church community.
In the 20+ years of being in-laws she was extremely unkind to me. The family did not visit often and that was a blessing, but at Holiday Celebrations she made certain that she openly demeaned me as often as possible.
Of course, we dressed in Sunday best for these celebrations. One instance of snarley comment happened when the family was all seated in the Living Room, she said to me, “I really like your dress, I have one just like it that I wear for work.”
There were many remarks made and I would hear of things she had said in the community that were not true. I wondered how she thought she even knew me much the less the personal things she was telling as though she was well informed. Once I tried to correct her and I was surprised that the entire family gasped and then did not exhale for a full minute.
So, I grew to dislike, to despise, and then to hate her. I was so in need of justice. I needed retribution. She came to be an obsession. I had conversations with her, in my mind, and of course, I set her straight. As the hate process deepened, I wanted to physically assault her.
I made it my firm intention to give her a good whipping the very next time I saw her. But, that was at a Family Reunion, when she made the announcement that she was pregnant with her second child. It was clear, I would have to wait. Looking at her, I thought, “After you are not pregnant, I am going to give you a whipping you won’t forget.”
The baby came, of course we went to see the new family member. Again, in my mind I renewed my promise to myself.
I am a Christian, I was a serious student of Scripture reading the Bible everyday, really seeking the Lord, and that is a good thing for me that I was.
As I was reading this particular day I read, “HOW can you love God, Whom you have not seen and hate your brother whom you have seen?” *
I was pierced to my heart that I was in error. I confessed to God, “Okay, I hate her guts and I confess it as wrong,”
Immediately a poem came to me. It may not be funny to anyone else but it made me laugh.
My sister in-law is a terrible snob
and her sister-in-law will snob a snob,
so I guess in the end they both are snobs,
but on a different level.
One snobs those she sees as poor
and one snobs those she sees a bore.
In the end, I guess it’s safe to say,
that, “East is East and West is West
and never the twain shall meet.”*
For weeks, every time she came to my mind so did the poem, and I would laugh heartily.
Strangely to me, my feelings about her changed. I began to see a person who felt inferior, who had worked hard to attain position, and yet continued to not feel any different than the little girl whose Mama had to make panties for her out of feed sacks. I began to feel compassion for a hurting person.
That was a deliverance!
* I John 4:20
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