“I thought you were dead”.
This proclamation brought the much desired silence at the table.
“The only reason I came back was because I thought you were dead”, her son clarified.
She had wanted silence, but not this kind, because now she could hear thoughts she had successfully buried for years—and these were not righteous thoughts!
She’d given her days to ministry, and had helped bring hope to countless families.
All that time away from home eventually began to tell on her family.
She blamed herself sometimes—a preacher’s kid. Married to a preacher. She would have known better!
But she did do her best.
Even though it seemed like it, she did not intentionally abandon her children while catering to the needs of other families.
And she did come back home to be with them—you’d think that would count for something!
So when this son had left home in his college days and promised not to return home until his parents were dead, they had put it down to youthful delinquency at first.
Then as months turned to years, they were certain it was an attack of the enemy.
They did everything they could to make peace.
They prayed all kinds of prayers.
And when they had learned he was coming home for the yearly thanksgiving gathering they always had as a family, they were grateful for answered prayers.
He came with his wife and children—family they hadn’t seen. Ever.
But things began to turn when he found out his siblings had tricked him, with the help of his wife!
Although he no longer cared that much for family, she didn’t want her children to grow up without family. So she’d reached out to his siblings for help. He had been in touch with them, and she’d met them once or twice.
It might have been an answer to their prayers all these years, but it didn’t look like one he was thankful for.
And she was having a hard time keeping those not-righteous thoughts at bay.
So what if they weren’t the perfect parents!
They were people trying to do the best they could—and that should count for something!
She said a short prayer, and broke the silence “Son you do not have to be here if you don’t want to. You’d be always welcome, and we’d always be praying for you, but if you let those same words out of your mouth again, in the same order, and addressed to any of us, we’d be praying for quick recovery at your hospital bed!”
She didn’t even know what that meant, but no child of hers would disrespect her in her own house because they’ve perceived some form of shortcoming in her.
She was after all, a person trying to find her way, and doing the best she could.
The echoes of “Amen” around the table was like balm to her wounded spirit, and the wide toothed grin of the offending son’s wife was sufficient assurance that God answers prayers—and that she hadn’t gone and lost her own good mind!
Dinner was taking too long!
She had a daughter she needed to catch up with!