I just visited my mother and younger siblings in rural Virginia last week. It was a busy stay…mostly helping my mother move out of her old house and into a smaller one forty minutes away. My father died seven months ago, a Baptist pastor.
It is tedious sometimes to visit her there because most of what she talks about revolves around church. My siblings’ interests revolve around church. Prayers are said before meals, which doesn’t bother me at all.
The problem is, I think, that I have no margin of error. If I mention my secular values or liberal values, my mother feels like I am deliberately trying to throw a grenade of controversy into the fragile arrangements she has made since my father’s passing.
I love my mom and my family but I know my mom would choose Jesus over me. How sad! When I mouthed off a bit, she exclaimed, “you are not welcome here anymore!” After helping her move. After being a good son for twenty six years.
When her husband died, it was I who grasped her close to my chest and let her weep and sob. I held her close when she needed to go to pieces. I then hugged my sister and she did the same. I walked with my little brother who was very upset. My elder brother drove home to be with his wife and make travel arrangements for the funeral. I went to the funeral home with my mom and was there by her side.
She has taken back what she said, but I think she meant it at the time. Jesus had a sick obsession with being loved, if his words are recorded truthfully. I think of three instances.
1. A man whose father died said, ” I want to follow you Jesus but my father just died.” Jesus’ response was “let the dead bury their dead.”
2. He said, “to follow me you must hate your mother and father.” Growing up Baptist, I was always told that what Jesus meant was “compared to how much you love me.”
3. When Judas recommended doing something charitable with the money that could be raised by selling an alabaster box filled with perfume, Jesus said it was better to let a woman pour the perfume on himself. His reasoning was “the poor you will always have, but me only for a while.”
Jesus definitely inherited his Father’s insecure streak. Worship me, flatter me, give me things…and don’t stop. If you don’t feel like it…work on your feelings.
I am going back home for another two or three days and know that this time I must keep my mouth shut, and check myself at the door as it were, so as to not stir up controversy. Does anyone else out there share my frustration?