My maternal grams was a very kind woman, God rest her soul in eternal peace. I have very fond memories of her; whenever we visited her, she’d let me sleep in her bed because I was named after her. That’s not say she loved me more than she loved my sisters; on the contrary, she loved us equally. When she smiled, she had this warm, calming vibe, that was the epitome of sincerity and good heartedness. Even when she admonished someone occasionally for something wrong they’d done, it was never with malice, or to belittle them.
I know she was a wonderful woman because somehow she managed to see dad’s goodness. Even when he erred majorly, she treated him with so much love and warmth. To date, dad loves her. Every once in a while, he will say something nice about her. For instance, there was this day mom and I were watching this South Korean drama, and there was this dramatic scene, where a woman was about to slap her daughter because she’d just brought home the man she loved to meet her parents.
The woman’s main bone of contention was that her soon-to-be son-in-law was a webtoon artist; a profession that’s apparently considered lowly by the moneyed folks. Ergo, this woman just couldn’t bear the thought of having one for a son-in-law, because he would be the sole, painful reason she’s gossiped by her fellow rich women during social gatherings.
Dad, who was on his annual leave, was just seated there scrolling through his phone, and he just happened to look up when that part was playing. Seconds later the show ended, and I stood to leave. As I walked to the kitchen, I heard him tell mom, “Your mom never treated me like that. My mother, on the other hand, treats me like that to date. She’s a very materialistic woman”, he sighed dejectedly. It broke my heart to hear him say that because I understood where he was coming from.
He ran away from home when he was only a teenager, I think, because he could not bear to live with his overly strict mother. Being strict is not unheard of when it comes to parenting; I mean, mom has raised my sisters and I by instilling that fear of her wrath in us. Thankfully, I got to a point where I realised it wasn’t her wrath I should be afraid of, but God’s; and that’s been my guiding principle to date. With dad’s mom, it was cruelty masqueraded as strictness.
When she cooked meat, dad wouldn’t get his serving unless he said grace to her satisfaction. I know she grew up Catholic, but later on changed to Protestantism subsequent to her divorce, seeing as divorces are frowned upon, and the church doesn’t allow one to remarry, unless the marriage has been annulled, under Canon Law. When she got saved, she ditched her ‘party girl’ habits and adopted this strict religiousness, which I’ve always found problematic since I was a child; it’s hard for me to reconcile her ‘saved-ness’, with all the wicked things she does.
My understanding of getting ‘saved’, is that one accepts Jesus as their personal Saviour, and as such, they abide to live by the teachings prescribed in the Bible; New testament especially, where Jesus outlaws some teachings from the Old Testament, like the law of Moses encouraging ‘an eye for an eye’.
Being a Christian means to be a follower of Jesus Christ; to be guided by the precepts of Christ; to be Jesus-like. Tithing, fasting, attending church services and reciting prayers isn’t to be Christ-like. On the contrary, it is how we conduct ourselves when it comes to our treatment of other people, with respect to Jesus’ greatest commandment: to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbours. This is the hallmark of Christianity. Anything contrary to that is just hypocrisy on heels.