Monday, June 19, 2006

Un-Grace and My Mother

I really don't want to blog about this subject. But I feel compelled by the subject's importance, so here goes ...

My mother is unreasonable. Literally. For the life of me, I don't understand why she lets her political ideology & conspiracy theories get in the way of her familial relationships. She believes that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush family to increase the price of their oil holdings. She believes that the devastating Asian tsunami was caused by a secret government weapon designed to knock out dangerous coastal nations (e.g. Korea). She believes that a major earthquake will hit California in a matter of days, and that the stock market is about to crash. She believes the latter so much, that she just exchanged $12,000 for it's weight in silver. That's right, she is sitting on $12,000 worth of silver. Except that it's not $12,000 worth anymore, since the price of silver is what actually dropped -- 20% in the last week.

Whenever you try to discuss these outrageous beliefs (which she incessantly pushes on her family members) from an opposing angle, she gets passionate, then angry, then irate, then she hangs up on you. It makes me want to scream. It makes me want to cry. Then it makes me not want to talk to her anymore -- in part because I'm tired of being jerked around emotionally, and in part because I hope that a "relational embargo" of sorts will tone her down.

And part of me is angry because she always rebuffs my attempts to talk to her about Christ. And another part of me is angry because she left Dad & us 7 years ago. Part of me just wants to be angry with her, I think.

And then I happened upon the chapter in What's So Amazing Grace? that discusses patterns of ungrace. Yancey writes this:

All too often I drift back in to a tit-for-tat struggle that slames the door on forgiveness. Why should I make the first move? I was the one who was wronged. So I make no move, and cracks in the relationship appear, then widen. In time a chasm yawns open that seems impossible to cross. I feel sad, but seldom do I accept the blame. Instead, I justify myself and point out the small gestures I made toward reconciliation. I keep a mental accounting of those attempts so as to defend myself if I am ever blamed for the rift. I flee from the risk of grace to the security of ungrace.

I am so troubled by this. Is my anger righteous indignation, or is it self-righteous indignation? Should I stand pat and try to make a point to my mother, or should I practice forgiveness "seventy times seven" times more?

I know this: I don't want to end up like one of the patterns of ungrace that Yancey outlines in this book. He talks about one particular family (true story), where one parent's bitterness was visited throughout the life of their children. Truly a tragic story where loved ones could never forgive each other. I don't want to be like that.

But how do I get through to my crazy mother? I wish I had more answers.

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