Grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve.
Mercy is when He doesn't give us what we do deserve.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grace for the moment

I like to think that I am a pretty warm, loving, generous and kind person. Not in a "how good can I be" sort of way but just because that is who I am.  That's not to say that I don't make mistakes or that I am always at my best, because I know that I have a lot of growing left to do.  There is plenty of room for improvement.  It is a continuous process and I am hopeful that as time goes on I will only increase my capacity to love and offer compassion to others.

Sadly, there is no one who can make me feel less loving than my Grandma.  I mean it.  I struggle EVERY time I have to deal with her.  She just has this ugly side and I am at a loss for how to prevent minimize it's toxicity in my  life.  She has this tone she uses when she talks to us that I can't even begin to describe, she manipulates and deceives, but I think the thing I dislike the most is that she is constantly trying to pit the 4 of us against each other.  Now, if there was a single guy around she would be on her "best" behavior and would flirt up a storm, but it wouldn't last.  It never does, because I believe she won't find what she's looking for in any mortal man.

I am eternally hopeful, I mean EVERY time I talk to her or she visits for a holiday I think it will go well.  I hope that this time something would be different, maybe she'll be in a happier place, maybe she will not be so ugly with everyone... it's yet to happen and instead I end up in tears.  Crying as much for the injuries she inflicts as for how horrible I feel about myself and my attitude towards her.  I know I am called to be better than that.  Jesus asks two things of us.  Just two.  Love Him with everything we have and love each other.  I believe I have a great capacity for love but my interactions with Grams would belie that.

Yesterday, I had a maybe 30 minute conversation with her and then spent another combined total of almost 4 hours crying intermittently the rest of the afternoon and evening.  During the call she told me she had been to the ER twice in the previous week but followed that statement up with an order not to tell my father.  Um, hello- please do not put me in that position.  I dislike my mental response to her news, because if there was really something wrong with her I would feel horrible, but I just chalk it up to Grams being her usual self.  In the last 18 months she has had 5 CT scans for various reasons.  She has visited specialists for fibromyalgia concerns, alzheimers testing, and now it's back pain.  This is on top of a life time of other worries... it is a bit like the boy who called wolf.  I am not doubting that she is uncomfortable, but I honestly feel as if she likes the face time and attention she gets from the doctors and nurses more than that she has any real ailment.  Plus, I think she really glories in using it to try and make us feel guilty for not living near her.

I get that she is lonely and I have to believe that she is hurting and empty inside for a love that no one of us will ever be able to give her.  Because if it isn't that, if she isn't desperately aching for acceptance (the kind that can only come from God), then I don't know what it is.  I do not understand how someone can be so malicious and manipulative to their only child and his family.  How she can long for us (or at least the attention we can give her) and be so hateful it drives us away?  She makes it almost impossible for us to want to be near her.  I will admit I should call her more.  I really need to make more of an effort but it is hard when I know how wretched I feel after dealing with her.

How do I love on someone who I believe needs love so badly and at the same time does all she can to make loving her so impossible difficult?  I am not Jesus, I don't even pretend to come close to his level of loving on others, but I am called to be as Christ like as possible.  He has loved me, fiercely, even when I have been my most unlovable self... do I not have a responsibility to extend the same grace to her?

I think this will be one area where I will just have to step out on faith and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide me because I know with 100% certainty I can not do this on my own.


  1. I know what you mean, my dad and I butt heads all the time and I feel like nothing I do is right. I have learned fighting back and or even responding is only fueling the fire. Basically treat him like I treat the kids! In return he sits and thinks about what just happen and the past year, he has started coming around and actually calling me! I had my first nice conversation with him saturday. We talked on the phone for 25 minutes. NEVER has tha thappened

  2. I think you and I must be related because my Grandmother is the same way. It's unfortunate but she hasn't been a part of my life in years. It had to be done, to save myself. Sometimes you just can't be all things to all people.

    I hope you find peace with this situation, Andie. Remember, it's not up to you to fix others.