Change is difficult in any era, but in the past the alternatives were fewer, and the results could be dire. It did not even need to be a wrong choice, it could be something beyond a person’s control.
Early Christian era
Elizabeth has little choice. She is a widow and there is no welfare system in the 1st century AD, so she cannot set up home for herself. In Biblical times the family provided for the widow, provided she had one.
Well, Elizabeth has a family, but a divided one and she was the cause of the division. Rather, her change of faith was.
When she converted from her Jewish faith to that of the ‘Way’ it cost her a daughter, son-in-law, perhaps grandchildren, as well as the home she had lived in throughout her married life.
God was good to her though. Elizabeth found work in the home of the Christian family who saved her other daughter’s life. Now she lives in the home of that daughter and her husband, while continuing her work in the home of the now smaller family who employed her.
Things are about to change!
Her brother-in-law is not the shadow of the past, but he is the cause of it. If he converts to the Christian faith, how can she worship with him? Love for brethren is the distinguishing feature of the followers of Jesus Christ.
Layered over by many years of facing and dealing with a difficult life, a vulnerability exists and now is exposed, and she considers her options. But there are few choices for women in her circumstances.
She has older sisters who are married to well-off business men; they are Jewish. While they accept Elizabeth, they do not know ‘officially’ of her change of faith. If she went to live with either of them she would have to return to the Jewish faith. Would she consider it?
Her dilemma… one of them might have the answer to a question that has secretly haunted her.
This is the background to Shadow of the Past
Spoiled for choices in our era
That is what many would say about women in our era. But is that so?
There is much on ‘the news’ about choice. ‘Right to life.’ ‘Right to die.’ ‘Right to abortion.’
However, even in this day and age there are many women and young girls who do not have ‘rights’ or the chance to change their lives. Some are the victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or both. Many men were sexually abused when young. In all these cases, the person lives with consequences of another’s actions. A vulnerability that haunts them.
In some places in the world some people are so poor the make, and eat, dirt cookies.
I have friends whose spouses have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, they have a choice… put the person in a care home. Until there is absolutely no other choice, they choose not to because they married ‘for better, for worse.’
There are an increasing number of people with cancer of various types, there is little they can do to change their situation for the better.
Then there a people like me, living at the end of an oxygen tube, often being shunned because others are unsure how to relate to us. We might not be able to do what we once did, but our brains still work, and we can converse.
Lives change, unexpectedly
As I mentioned in my recent monthly newsletter, since publishing Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube I have heard from others who are not living at the end of a tube, but have other problems. Many are confined by unrelenting pain, and there are those who are grieving.
I am sure you could add more to the list.
So yes, things are different in our era… we have welfare, we have modern conveniences, phones, Internet and time-saving devices, but we still have problems. Isolation is one of them.
How can we help? This is a question worth asking. You might think you have nothing to offer, but someone might need a smile today. Can we afford that? It might change someone’s day.
Shadow of the Past is available on pre-order now. During this period the price is only $1.99 US