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I’m not horribly fond of my mother in law. I realize this is not an unusual complaint. She’s manipulative, gossipy and has a mean streak a mile wide. It helps we live in another state and she’d rather spend money on a kitchen remodel than visiting her grandchildren, so that helps.

Part of her gift of manipulation involves her Facebook traffic. If her middle-aged son is doing something great, she sidles on in a tacit attempt to share some of the credit.

My father in law I like much more, in spite of his neutered status. Over the last few years, he’s run into a few health problems. He’s fine now, but it was worrisome while it was going on. His ticker isn’t the greatest, and we’re grateful he’s stabilized.

But, lest you think the health crisis was about him, guess again. My MIL managed to make it all about her. Whenever anyone started to pay more attention to FIL, MIL would try to wrest the conversation back to herself. And to do this, she brought out the big guns. She brought out God.

Keep in mind that my husband never went to church as a child. Once, he and his siblings were shipped off on a bus to a Bible summer camp, but when they begged not to go back, and the Baptists literally banged on their door, shouting that they were going to Hell, that pretty much ended any religious affiliation for their family.

So it’s bewildering to me that as soon as things start to get really bad for my MIL, all of the sudden, she remembers the power of prayer, and not only asks for them, but lets it be known how much praying she’s been doing. Those who don’t know her better would assume from her posts that prayer and God are regular parts of her life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Until my FIL had his heart problems, I had never even heard the woman mention God. There was never a Bible, cross, or painting of a gazing Aryan Jesus anywhere in sight in their house.

But surgery was indicated, so out she trotted God. And her friends responded with promises to fervently pray along with her.

Because they decided to use surgeons as well as prayer, my FIL did recover and, as I said before, is stable. He’s back to doing things he loves. All of his former symptoms have disappeared. So, too, has any mention of God or prayer from my MIL’s Facebook postings, conversations or life.

Until the next crisis.

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