The Way of Love for the Lord
Chapter 10. The two days when I couldn’t forgive my mother-in-law (April 30, 1981)
That day like a nightmare passed and the next day followed, but it was still hard for me to forgive my mother-in-law. Has there ever been a time when I bore a grudge and thus was not able to forgive anyone in my life at present or before knowing God?
My mother had prepared my mother-in-law’s sixtieth-birthday banquet with the utmost sincerity even by calling her relatives together and working hard for several days, but on the very next day she came to my hair shop and pushed my mother, injuring her back. This made it more difficult for me to forgive.
She had said before her birthday, “Let us get together and have a light meal instead of a party.” But I couldn’t treat her to a simple meal for her sixtieth birthday. So we prepared her sixtieth-birthday banquet with the utmost sincerity without any help from my husband’s family members. They came and just enjoyed the banquet. None of them helped us.
As my mother who had taken great pains over the banquet got injured by my husband’s mother for no reason, I was overcome with an excruciating feeling.
My heart would have melted like a snow does in spring if my husband had just said one word like this, “Honey, since we are young, can there be any solution other than enduring this situation and offering it up?” Yet, instead of trying to console me, he got angry with me and brusquely told me not to bring up the subject again.
Then I even thought how happy I would have been if I had married an orphan and could attend only to him wholeheartedly. How diligently I had worked without sparing myself until then in order not to be called a daughter of a widow!
As I lived alone with my mother, I was married to my husband and came to live with his parents and many siblings so that I might live happily together with them. So since the day of my marriage I had obeyed my mother-in-law and lived diligently, tightening my belt and even skipping meals. I worked without breaks like a cow and took charge of many household occasions as the eldest daughter-in-law. But she took all the work done by her eldest son and me for granted, saying, “If it were not for me, then you wouldn’t get to do all those things.” Of course I thought that it was natural for me to work hard. So I had done it willingly.
On the other hand, she praised her other younger sons until she ran out of praises for whatever they did, even if they were trivial, and was very proud of them. But I never felt hurt because I did gladly what I was supposed to do. There was nothing my husband inherited from his parents although he was the eldest son. Rather his mother used all the furnishings I had bought for my marriage.
So I couldn’t bring any of them to my new house when I and my husband moved out of his parents’ house, for which I felt so sorry to my own mother because she had helped to buy them. I lived without complaining about it. But far from repaying my mother for taking such great pains to prepare her sixtieth-birthday banquet, she hurt my mother.
Since she became a young widow, she had lived only for me undergoing many hardships. Nevertheless, as I was married to my husband, the eldest son, with his parents and eight siblings, she continued to make sacrifices and work hard for my husband’s family. Then, how could this happen to her?
Even when someone tried to humiliate me, I had led a life of ‘Semchigo’(refer to page 23), forgiving them. Even if somebody had trampled on me and tried to kill me, I would have offered it up well thinking that they were my crosses.
More than anything else, I couldn’t stand the insensitiveness from my husband who I thought understood me.
Julia and her Mother - Maria Hong.