Silenced: Chapter 3, Part 2: Jae and the Letter
The great mystery of Soon has been solved!
DID Jae read the letter from Paul Stepola Sr. to Paul Stepola Jr.? The one full of boilerplate Christian apologia?
Yes. Yes, she did.
Jae’s emotions are understandably mixed at the discovery of the letter (which happened some months ago, in Soon), but her main concern is to keep it from her own kids.
But now she reads over the letter again, and finds it to be,,,not so bad.
Jae, you poor sap.
And somehow, this read-through of the letter was different. Jae was not so uptight.
As we all know, most times when women have a problem with something, it is because they are too uptight. Probably the first time Jae read the letter, it was That Time of the Month.
This read-through of the boilerplate evangelism leads Jae to…well, it seems a rather odd conclusion to me:
Wrong. Misguided. Delusional, surely. But how he loved his son!
You can read above my initial reaction to the letter in Soon. I somehow cannot find a lot of WOW-he-loved-his-son-SO-MUCH in a letter that mainly contains very run-of-the-mill evangelism, coupled with talk of Hell, including that Beloved Son’s own mother will be going there someday. (And, we know, she is roasting there even as Jae reads the letter again.)
And yet he reached her—even though she was not the object of the letter—with his love for his child. She knew what it was to love a child. And she knew what it was to love his child. She loved Paul with all her heart, in spite of everything.
Jae, you poor, poor sap.
Jae is guilty of something we all do on occasion: assuming that everyone else in the world shares our attitudes. She loves her kids and assumes that Paul Sr. has that same kind of love for Paul Jr. She wipes away all this stuff:
But those who have rejected God will face a very different fate: punishment and suffering beyond anything we can imagine or have ever managed to inflict upon each other.
That’s you, Jae, that he’s talking about. You and your parents and your brother and, as far as you know, your husband. He may love his son (as long as he becomes a Christian, mind!), but he thinks millions upon millions of other people deserve Hell for all eternity.
Hell, even Ranold doesn’t think that.
But Jae has other ideas:
…she had forced herself to compare [Ranold] with a man she had never met. And her father had been found wanting.
Yes, Ranold is no great father, especially to his son. But Jae apparently can’t accept that both men were/are wanting as parents. And she’s definitely not capable of the kind of introspection that might reveal that her own unaffectionate, self-involved, and judgmental father might well have been a factor in her own marriage to an unaffectionate, self-involved, and judgmental man.
Poor Jae. She really has nowhere to turn.
In other words, she is ripe for RTC conversion!