‘Elder, there’s a woman whose husband’s left her. He’s taken the child and he’s involved with two other women. She asked me what she should do’.
‘Tell her, as far as she can, to be patient, to pray and to act with kindness. She should wait and not dissolve the marriage herself. There was another man who scorned his wife, maltreated her and she dealt with everything with patience and kindness, until she died quite young. When they exhumed her, a fragrance wafted from the grave. Everybody there was amazed.
You see, she’d dealt with everything patiently in this life and so she found her proper place in the next. I recall another instance, as well. There was a secular young man who really liked a young woman who lived spiritually. In order to win her affections, he also made an effort to live spiritually, by going to church and so on. In the end they got married. Some years later, though, he started on his secular life-style again.
Even though they had grown-up children- a boy at university, a girl in senior high and another in junior high- he continued to live like a prodigal. He had a large business that made a lot of money, but most of it went on his profligate life-style.
His poor wife kept the house going, and supported her children with her advice. She didn’t speak ill of her husband, so as not to harm the children and make them disgusted with him and to stop them being carried away.
When he got back home late in the evenings, it was easy to makes excuses, by telling the children he had a lot of work. But how could he explain turning up at home at midday with a girl-friend? Because this is what this shameless man did, though he didn’t deserve to be called a man because of his lack of humanity.
He would phone his wife and tell her to make whatever food he wanted then turn up with one of his girl-friends whom he’d brought home for lunch. In order not to give the children any reason to think badly of their father, the poor mother would welcome them.
She would give the impression that it was one of her own friends and that her husband had picked her up from home to bring her to lunch in his car. He’d subtly send the children to their rooms to do their homework, because he was worried they might witness an inappropriate scene. He was, in fact, very lax and behaved badly even at home. This happened every lunchtime, and every so often it would be a different person.
In the end, the children said to their mother: ‘Just how many friends do you have, Mom?’ ‘We’ve known each other a long time’, she’d answer. In the meantime, her husband treated her worse than a servant, because he was very brutal towards her.
Imagine! Every day that mother had to serve two beasts, who shamed her house. She also had to make her children think well of him. And it wasn’t as though she knew that this business would end any time soon so that she could find comfort in saying: ‘I’ll just be patient a bit longer’.
This state of affairs lasted a number of years. But because the wretched man had fallen foul of the devil, it was only natural that he’d be on the end of terrible demonic influences. He was like a madman, with no control over himself. Nothing was right with the world.
Well, there was one day he was speeding in his car, drunk, and the car left the road and ended up going over a big drop. The car was a complete wreck and he himself was badly injured. He was taken to hospital and, after a course of treatment, was released to go home. His health was shattered.
None of his girl-friends came to see him, because he didn’t have much money any more and his face was disfigured. But his good wife and the good mother of his children looked after him with great kindness, without ever mentioning his former profligate life-style.
This moved him greatly and transformed him spiritually. He repented genuinely and asked for confession. He lived on for a few years, with inner peace, then went to his rest in the Lord. His son then took over the business and provided for the family.
The children shared a deep love, because they’d been brought up properly by their good mother. That mother was a heroine.