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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

I do quite understand your point of view. The woman is being unreasonable. Being that she is your wife’s mother, I suspect this will continue for a long time. The real question is, what are you going to do about it?

There is no sense in applying to your wife’s father. If he could have corrected this fault in his wife, he would have done so years ago. Therefore, you must either correct it or bear with it. I suspect the former is not within your power; therefore, you must bear this with patience. Consider it a trial from God, who permits such burdens.

Therein lies the solution to your trouble. As God has committed the problem to you, it seems only fair you should return it to him. He, after all, has power to deal with it. But I should warn you. His method of dealing with it is often to strengthen you rather than cure her. You should be prepared for this.

Is it not the case that your anxiety is caused by your own unreasoning attitude? You expect her to be a paragon of civility, utterly reticent in giving advice – can the same be said of you? Especially to one much younger than yourself? I think not. You have – I love your phrase for it – a double standard! One measure for you, another for her. Our Lord tells us that we are not to do this. We are to love others as we love ourselves. Is it not the case that in your love for self you are quite forgiving of your own errors? Be charitable enough to extend the same standard to her.

Consider it: if all were perfect in our world, how could we suffer for Christ’s sake? Surely that is a great virtue. This is such an opportunity. She is now kin to you, and you should take such suffering as being for His sake. In so doing your true character will be revealed. If that character does not please you, then pray to your Lord to amend it. You are yet young; there is time.

You may well ask how I dealt with my wife’s mother. She never had a difficulty with me. From which you may conclude that I had all the difficulties. But time and her good heart washed this clean. We forgave; I grew wiser. It is sometimes God’s way. I have seen this as a husband and as father; the coin has two faces.

Trusting this finds you at peace, I remain,

Isaac the alchemist

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