This article started out as an email to our dear sister in Christ Candy Austin. Candy has written several RR columns lately about her adult prodigal daughters. My heart goes out to her. And I thought maybe she would like to hear another perspective…that of the ‘adult child’ with a ‘prodigal parent.’
My mother is 93 years old. She was raised in a Christian home. Long, long, long ago though, she rejected Christianity and embraced a cult called Unitarian Universalism. This was the ‘church’ I was raised in, until I became born-again at age 19.
For the past literally 90+ years, friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, neighbors, even passers-by…all have preached Jesus to her at various times and under sundry conditions, until they are blue in the face. No dice. She has caretakers now who preach to her as well. I am hoping one of them gets through to her.
But so far, she remains staunchly resolute in her refusal to repent and seek Jesus. I have often thought about her response if Jesus himself came up to her and said, ‘My daughter, you need to repent and seek Me.’
Well, I know her. I’ve known her all my life, obviously, and I’m in my late 50’s. Here’s what she would undoubtedly do: First, she would look Him up and down suspiciously. Then, she would sniff haughtily at Him and say in a very condescending voice, “And, now, who are YOU? and what silly religion do YOU represent? and why should I believe YOU?”
I am not kidding. That would be her response to Jesus himself!
Sadly, she is also a covert narcissist and a practicing, functioning alcoholic. She is estranged from many of her own blood-family members, including myself; but, ironically, she remains close to her step-family of my generation, who mistreated her for decades when she was married to their father. Her biological family has even been pretty much completely disinherited by her in favor of her step-family. This doesn’t bother me personally, though, as my inheritance is God; and the blessings He has bestowed on me far outweigh any human inheritance I could ever receive. But it bothers other members of my family–a lot.
She is stuck in and fixated on the past, perseverating endlessly about old wounds and wrongs allegedly perpetrated on her by my biological father, all of which occurred during a span of time that began literally 70+ years ago and ended nearly 40 years ago.
She remarried after my father’s death in the mid-70’s, and it is as if her 30+ year marriage to her second husband—a devout Catholic—never occurred. But both her husbands gave her the world on a platter, as one was a doctor and the other was a lawyer/judge back in the day when those middle-class professions generated a very good income (it really isn’t that way today so much, but that’s another story).
She has had multiple houses (including a beach house and several desert houses); many nice cars; tons of designer clothes; the finest entertainment in cities such as Los Angeles and Washington D.C.; beautiful vacations; and many trips and travels all over the world.
She has had many fine dining experiences and her own custom kitchens, as she enjoyed cooking in her heyday; she has also hosted and experienced many social events and outings; she has redecorated many houses every season for years on end; she has remodeled houses to suit her expensive taste; and more.
She attended college as a young person, then later in life earned a master’s degree, and has had her own career which she earned a comfortable retirement from in her own right; and she even ran for political office and supported many political figures of her era. She is not unintelligent by any means.
She has been completely taken care of financially and health-wise for decades by both of her husbands, and they both ensured she would be secure and comfortable in her old age, which she is.
Oh yeah, and last but not least, one of her biological children had a perfect 4.0 in high school, graduated early, then attended an Ivy League school (the first in the family!), despite being raised middle class, and went on to have a successful law practice. Not that that matters to her one iota, mind you. She says it was ‘the wrong Ivy League school,’ and she thinks the practice of law doesn’t exist. Yes, I realize I said she had been married to a lawyer at one time. She does have a touch of dementia now, yes.
But anyway, most people in this miserable world in which we live would give their eye teeth to have maybe 1/100th of what she has had!
Yet she is super ungrateful for it all.
I pointed all this out to her and asked her, ‘What more do you want?’
She tried to weakly argue with me that she didn’t have all that, but the truth is she did, and much more I don’t have time & room to list—and she knows it.
But none of this satisfied her, and she has been relentlessly narcissistic towards many family members, including myself and my husband, and many of my sisters and their husbands, for decades.
As a result, our family is permanently fractured apart.
She fails to this day to take one iota of personal responsibility for the devastation to our family that her nonstop selfish, wicked, narcissistic conduct has caused. Having been raised Christian, she is the prodigal of prodigals.
I had contact with her recently after having none for the last 13 years, but broke it off again due to her faux ‘estate planning needs; it was a total disaster. We met for 2 hours on her turf, and she lambasted me literally out the gate—ironically, she lives in a gate-guarded community, and you have to go through at least 2 gates to get to her condo. She took up right where she left off 13 years ago with her verbal abuse of me, as if those 13 years of silence between us never occurred. Remarkable!
She has zero insight on herself; she has exhibited zero personal growth; she has no wisdom, no empathy, no consideration for others; she is selfish and greedy; and she is now lonely, angry, and very, very bitter (gee, there’s a shock eh? I wonder why).
When I left her place, the last thing I said to her was, ‘I forgive you.” She fixed an awful gaze on me and replied, steely-voiced, “Get out.” Hokay! Buh bye. Never to return.
There is no more I can do. Needless to say, I told her about Jesus one more time. I told her if she didn’t repent of her pure evil, she would not like where she is going after death; I told her that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. And that He would forgive her and He would offer her what she is missing in her life. But she pooh poohs all that. She says Bible studies should be done in Universities, and home Bible studies are ‘ridiculous.’
Candy, there is nothing more I can do for her except pray. Even that is very difficult for me, but I try to do it. I am so sorry for your losses! But at least your children have hope at their young age.
At 93, my mother really has none, unless someone can get through to her. It won’t be me.
To all my brothers and sisters in Christ out there, I say: Maranatha! God bless you. The Lord is coming soon.