The elderly aunt, living in a retirement center that is lovely in ambiance, has shared with the nothing Catholic hermit some terrible bullying she has received. (Ironically, shortly before, the hermit had read a NY Times article in which a columnist exposed some bullying her grandmother had suffered in a nursing home, meted out by other residents.)
Yes, people never grow too old to bully others and to detract. The hermit's aunt had held it in for over a year and a half, and only did the nasty events subside when two elderly women told lies in order to have her moved from their dining table--and the aunt realized to stay clear of these women.
O happy fault, it could be said. Nothing Catholic hermit asked some key questions. Describe these two women's appearances, please. Very heavy, not aging well, rather negative in dispositions. Oh.
But the elderly aunt had tried so hard to befriend them, to get them to have conversation with her during meals and at the other times she encountered them. All efforts were to no avail. The one would put her ancient hand up to her wizened face as it to block site of the aunt. The other would turn her head so as to only speak to the cohort in rudeness, with put-downs of the kindly aunt.
If the aunt would mention something pleasant in nature (which is her nature, anyway--a very positive person), the others would snap something negative...if and when they were of a mind to respond at all.
Try as she might, the aunt made no progress with the two. And then, yes, that day came when they concocted ridiculous lies to report to the facility manager, and he asked her about it, to get her side. The aunt admitted the lies were so shocking and inane, that to respond and defend herself was quite exhausting and upsetting. She said she started to explain the truth of the matter but soon realized it all was so ridiculous as to not be worthy of dignifying the situation. She decided it better to just take the unjustice. If others believed such lies, then they were not worth further effort.
But these women go to church! They are Christians!, the aunt exclaimed. That makes little difference when the devil is involved, responded nothing Catholic hermit. More devious for the devil, as who would think Christians would be so vile?
The aunt was moved to a table with a woman who used to teach at the same school in which the aunt taught, years ago. Her new table mate is losing her memory and realizes it. (She does have occasional, brief moments of lucidity.) In one of those clear spots, the woman thanked the aunt for sitting with her and being patient. The aunt responded that is was her pleasure to dine with her--and far better than what she had gone through for over a year and a half.
Humility! That is the best virtue to respond to bullying and detraction. Humility and gratitude! And for the ordeal of getting through it, she has lovely, long-time friends outside the retirement home, who listened and prayed and helped her endure. For one does feel shocked and hurt and confused when others gang up to bully and detract; the good souls attempt to make amends and bring peace to detractors for that is their loving and gracious nature.
The nothing Catholic hermit said it was very good, the humble way in which the aunt had simply kept silence when the personnel told her of the silly but painful charges that these two women had concocted. She said she started to explain the truth of the matter, but she soon realized it all was so ridiculous as to not be worthy dignifying the situation.
So into our conversation came what Jesus recommends when one offers his or her peace to another, and that peace is not returned. Shake the dust from the sandals as a testament against them, and move on to the next "place." And so that is just what happened; but the aunt could have saved herself a lot of torment for month after month, had she realized to do that within short order.
Also, the nothing Catholic hermit mentioned that darkness does not like the Light. The aunt is noted for her loveliness, her graciousness, and her encouraging, positive attitude. She is increasingly spiritual, prayerful--all the more into her nineties. She has had tragedy in her life--plenty--and has risen above. Such virtue in a person can really irritate the devil who loves to move into those others in vicinity who have any bit of envy or pride or tendency to be mean-spirited.
People bully and detract other people for a variety of reasons. Underneath it is always the devil using them in some weakness of virtue or downright vice, or plural of these. The bullies usually do not realize they are being used by darkness, making them prone to nastiness that can be hurtful and damaging in tangible ways, but most often is just downright ridiculous.
It means the bullies and detractors suffer from insecurity in their own personalities and appearance, or they have great pride which always goes before a fall, as is said. They can talk themselves into feeling justified, at times, such as they are protecting others...or making sure justice is played out...or that "right" is defended--that is, their notion of justice and right. Usually the bullies and detractors are blinded to what they are doing and what in themselves is hurting or lacking, to cause them to act as they do.
A news commentator recently spoke on bullies and detractors. What to do when people are mean to you? He answered his own query in simple terms: Get away from them. Yet sometimes we cannot, such as the aunt cannot always avoid these women since they live in the same facility--but she tries her best. She no longer attempts to cheer them or greet them. Rather, she smiles as she would to any human being. Then she makes her way past the detractors, pushing her walker with which she lives a purposeful life even if slowed down. She is a gracious survivor!
When one cannot get away from bullies or detractors (and journalists and internet writers cannot just disappear, either), then the best recourse is to ignore it. Pray for those who persecute, love one's enemies, but mentally walk away. However, in some cases when the detraction is downright slander and/or libel, one should set the record straight for the audience (newscasts, readership). At times a law suit is necessary to make the bullies and detractors cease curb their assaults.
A person who is a journalist, for example, or politician or such, has to realize that people will have their own opinions and differences of thought, or even think their view is the right and only way to be. Accepting their rebuffs with humility and yet persevering in one's goals and efforts, is most often all one can do. Get away in one's mind from the bullies and detractors. Remove oneself and move on to the next "place": Keep on by keeping on.
The devil's utilization of persons who offer an entry point into their own weak spots and who have been bullying and detracting is evidenced all the way back to the fall of Adam and Eve. These people can range in age from babies pestering other babies to professionals sniping at professionals all the way into the very elderly. Until our last breaths, we can be utilized to say twisted thoughts and try to make them seem as facts, to be nasty, to envy and resent others, to feel insecure, and to manipulate for supremacy in power, prestige, and position.
It matters not if religious. Again, the devil loves infiltrating someone who thinks he or she is not at all a bully or detractor as he or she is a Christian (or other religion), and others know the person goes to church. With such visible claim to faith, who would know to praying urgently for them? Who would know other than their victims, that they are bullying and detracting--their own souls in peril?
So we must take it all very seriously in as much as praying for souls as well as knowing the very crevices in ourselves. We must persevere in the virtues and batten the hatches against the evil one gaining entrance through any of our own weaknesses and vices. None of us are foolproof to slipping into bullying and detraction.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another! God Is Love! Do not let us have space in our souls for other than His Real Presence and to remain in His Love!