It is a tale of four sisters. There is a big divide, based on our vocations with two mothers on one side, and two career-women supporting disabled husbands on the other.
They say, “You don’t understand how the job of mother never stops. There are no vacations.”
We say, “It’s hard to support a household and to follow orders of bosses, and deal with the stress and bureaucracy of the business world.”
We don’t understand what it’s really like on the other side.
On AscensionThursday of all days, I let paranoia and bitterness bring me down. I had been looking forward to a special project with my niece. At 10 pm on Wednesday, my sister texted, facebook messaged and emailed me to let me know that the teacher had decided to cut my part from the project.
I was suspicious because of the late hour of the texts and the fact that she sent the same message three times by three different methods. Why had she been talking with the teacher? My niece was ill and hadn’t gone to school. At 4pm when I saw my sister, everything was a go. Six hours later, it wasn’t.
Did my sister make the decision? I had my own narrative already spinning. There’s a long and ugly jealousy that emerges from time-to-time. It had improved somewhat since mom’s sudden death 10-½ years ago.
I was hurt, but knew better than to respond to the messages. I have a tendency to be so easily offended. I didn’t want to do more lasting damage by saying the wrong thing.
In my mind, I dredged up instances where I felt disrespected, left out or ignored. I re-lived and seethed over remarks that had hurt me. I dug a pit, filled it with lies and assumptions and wasted a day living there.
I talked with my other sister who works, lamenting how I am always misunderstood. She had some wise advice for me: “Unless someone tells you that they have a problem with you, assume that they don’t and act accordingly.”
Simple, wise and extremely difficult.
Then I thought about how much she loves me. She was the one who dropped everything to pick me up 20 miles from home when I wrecked my car. She is the one who hosts most of the family gatherings and works tirelessly to make every holiday special. She is the one who helped me unpack all of my kitchen items after moving a few years ago.
I felt convicted. I realized how childish I was being. I decided to call her, but got voice mail. More paranoia. “Was she not taking my call on purpose?”
She texted back within a few minutes. “At the therapist’s office. She’s cutting herself again. I don’t know when I would be able to call back. Love you.”
I won’t ever truly understand what it’s like to carry her cross or what it’s like to be a mother. . As a sister, I need to give her more empathy and more compassion. Life would be so much better if I assumed the best and remembered that she would drop everything if I really needed help.
Christ wants to elevate me to join Him one day in the heavenly kingdom. First I need His help to climb out of the pit I’ve dug by ignoring the lies of the enemy.