This is the second part of the post, she did the best she could.
All he could do in that moment was stare – well, that and try to keep the food from falling from his mouth.
He had joined them at the table without an appetite and now the food had lost its taste, thanks to his wife going and acting like she loved his own mother more than him!
The woman had just promised to send him to the hospital, and his wife was grinning from ear to ear, and playing catch up with her. If he wasn’t married to her, he’d agree with the thought that crossed his mind – she was being silly.
And it didn’t help that everyone else was looking at him like they just found the source of all their problems, after all these years.
This was not how he had envisioned the day going. He knew it was going to be hard coming home after more than two decades, but he didn’t think his wife would jump ship so quickly, and that his siblings would just sit and watch him sink.
It shouldn’t have surprised him though. Hadn’t it always been that way?
When their mother’s work in ministry began to take over their lives, they would complain about situations she exposed the family to, and yet no one would tell her – no one that is, except him – and then he would bear the cost of trying to cause conflict in a peaceful home.
It was the same thing every time – like when she started to bring complete strangers home because they needed a place to stay. It wasn’t very long before they started to lose property. At first it was clothes. Then phones. And then jewelry. By the time their mother came to agree with everyone else that the situation had gotten out of hand, they were already losing food and money.
All the while, his question had been “How do you expose your family this way in the name of ministry?”
She said they needed help.
He said there were other ways to go about it.
Everyone else agreed with him, but no one else would tell mother.
As the years passed he began to consider more and more, the definition of home. Eventually, he decided that home is where you go from the world; home is where you find peace and rest.
And that place was no longer here.
He wouldn’t stand in the way of what she believed was her calling.
But it was not his calling.
So that year while home on break from college, when he overheard his parents arguing again about using their savings for ministry, he had tried to talk to his mother about doing ministry in a way that doesn’t affect your family adversely.
His intention had been to try to get her to reconsider her approach.
She said he was taking sides with his father. And then she’d gone on to remind him about how she had been there for her children while their father spent his days ministering to people at Church. And now they repay her by stifling the vision she had received.
Tempers flew. Harsh words were spoken. And again, nobody else said anything to mother, even though they all sympathized with him. Finally the last straw broke the camel’s back.
When he said he wasn’t going to see his mother again until they met in Heaven, it was a promise he had intended to keep.
And then he was blessed with a wife and children – and his wife wouldn’t stop talking about family.
He told her what they had was enough.
She said she wanted all she could get as she missed having a family, growing up, because she was the child of a teenage mother that ran away from home for fear of what she might face at home, and at church.
Eventually she had been given up for adoption, just before her adoptive parents found out they were expecting. And just like that, she became a bone stuck in their throat.
After the second biological child, she ran away, and kept trying to find a way in this world.
So now she wanted all the family she could get – so much so that she connived with his siblings to deceive him!
And now he was stuck at the table with no appetite, eating food that had lost its taste while his wife played catch up with his mother, and his siblings concur with her plan to send him to the hospital.
Their father, true to his nature, just observed, taking it all in, but doing nothing – the time would come though, when he would call them all to order, but apparently, not today. Maybe next year – or some time before the next decade runs out.
He grabbed his daughter as his phone rang, “We need to leave”, he said.
When his wife sat put and just stared at him, he tried again, “Please get your things and our other child and meet me in the car”.
“But you don’t even know what the call is for, and Mimi was telling me about the time you preached at church when you were five”, she told him.
OK, so now we’re calling her Mimi and she’s telling you that story?
Even his daughter was trying to get away from him, “Mimi said I could colour my face”. What!?!
This was definitely not how he had envisioned the day, but since he was already ambushed, he thought it best to leave them to their vices.
He would drive around for a bit. Maybe take a glass or two of something to help him regain his composure. And then he would come back and take his wife and children home.
As he headed for the car, his father came up to him, “Walk with me son”.
Perplexed beyond measure, all he could do was nod and follow – that next decade had come faster than anyone could have imagined.