My mom loves to call me and read to me over the phone.
When I was little, she read poems, adventure stories, and series like Little House.
Now, she reads me bible passages and plays podcasts from Focus on the Family, Ravi Zacharias, and Mark Gungor. She believes that nothing she says really matters, but if I hear words written by Paul, Mark, Ezekiel or sermons by Gungor then there is a chance the Holy Spirit will change me.
She tries to be sneaky sometimes and reads verses from various translations and then demands, “how did you like that quote, do you want to know who wrote it?”.
Sometimes it is condescending. “Have you ever read Romans 14? Did you get it?”
I remember since the age of 8 I read my bible faithfully. I practiced giving sermons in the bathroom mirror. And now, I’m being treated like an ignorant child incapable of understanding.
I admit, it is frustrating and pricks my ego 🙂
While I don’t mind arguing, it does get tiring. I’ve realized that I don’t know how to talk to the entire maternal side of my family without arguing.
I wouldn’t mind if it were actual debate, but it feels more like hammering. To win an argument, one doesn’t have to explain ideas, one only has to be the loudest, most repetitive, and closed-minded. Listening beyond finding something to attack is rare. Conversations feel more like boxing sessions.
Again, this wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t emotional fallout for not cooperating. When someone only feels close when arguing, they will find a point of contention in any conversation. And I fall for it nearly every time.
This last conversation, I listened and only replied saying “I hear you. I understand what you are trying to say. I’ve read that. I’ve heard that before.”
This caused some anxiety on the other side; we weren’t connecting as intensely.
The worst part is that my mother blames herself for everything. Because she was apathetic and not praying hard enough, I have fallen away. Because she was not a perfect parent, her kids are not perfect either. Because she cannot understand the oxymoronic god of the Bible, she is evil and stupid.
I am her wake-up call to find new ways to berate herself and declare it “just being honest”. That bothers me the most.
Of course, I am not the cause of that detrimental thinking, just another opportunity for it.