Mr. and Mrs. Divinity knew it was time to test their children and that their children needed to learn to appreciate them more, so they decided to go on a three-month mission trip to encourage a number of churches. Before they left they gave instructions to their children.
“Jane and John,” Mr. Divinity said, “You are the eldest, so we are leaving the two of you in charge. It is your responsibility to make sure your younger siblings are taken care of and that the house and yard are well tended. We left you with some phone numbers if you should need help.”
“It is very important that you love and respect one another,” Mrs. Divinity added. “You are to make sure Tom and Sally listen to you and do what you ask. Make sure that they get along with each other and treat each other with respect and dignity. You all are our children, and when we come home we want to hear that each of you valued your siblings highly. Tom and Sally, obey the twins and don’t fight with each other.”
“Mrs. Divinity is right,” Mr. Divinity chimed in. “It is very important to us that you all choose behavior that is becoming to a Divinity. Each of you make sure you care about the needs and feelings of each of your siblings and try to find solutions that keep the peace and are satisfying to all of you.
Mr. and Mrs. Divinity kissed their children good-bye and left for their mission trip.
As soon as their conveyance was off the property, John announced, “Since I am the man, you all will have to answer to me. Tom and Sally, if you want to do anything, you have to come to me. Is that understood?”
“But John,” Jane protested, “our parents left us both in charge. They made us both responsible.”
John snorted, “They weren’t thinking; it isn’t possible for two people to be in charge. This place will go to hell in a hand basket if the kids listen to you.”
“John is right,” Tom said, putting his hands on his hips. “We MEN know better than you GIRLS,” he curled his lip on the last word.
“But Tom,” Sally whispered, “what about loving each other and acting as is becoming to a Divinity?”
Tom shoved his younger sister causing her to fall down. “THIS is behavior that is befitting to a Divinity. “You be quiet and do what we men tell you to do.”
“John,” Jane frowned, “what you and Tom are doing is not right. I will have to report to our parents.”
John laughed. “You go right ahead. See if I care.”
That set the tone for the days ahead. John and Tom sat around playing games and meeting with friends and demanded that their sisters clean the house, care for the yard and garden, cook food for them and their friends, and wash their clothes.
One day John went off with his friends, and young Tom took the opportunity to be meaner to Sally than usual. He pulled her hair, kicked her shins, threw juicy mud balls at her, making her clothes all muddy, and pulled off the heads of both her dolls.
Sally went crying to Jane.
“Tom, that behavior is NOT becoming to a Divinity!” Jane said sternly. “You will apologize to your sister at once.”
“You aren’t my boss,” Tom stuck his tongue out at her. “I don’t have to listen to you.”
“Then you will not get any supper. I will not allow that kind of behavior in this house.”
Tom snorted, “We’ll see what John says when he comes home.”
When John came home, he took both Jane’s and Sally’s supper and gave it to Tom. “You girls are NEVER to boss us men!” John shouted. “Is that understood? WE are in charge here. WE are the Divinity men! If we see either of you helping yourselves to ANY food for the rest of the night, we will lock you in the basement. Now get busy and clean up the house!”
Jane and Sally quietly washed the dishes and went to bed hungry.
The next day Jane stepped outside to work in the garden and overheard a conversation between Tom and Sally, who were in the sandbox.
“Why do you and John treat us so badly?” Sally asked in a small voice.
“We aren’t treating you badly,” Tom sounded kind. “It’s actually you and Jane who are being nasty to us. You keep questioning our authority, even though our parents left us in charge.”
“Tom Divinity!” Sally said. “You know that is NOT true. Our parents left John and Jane in charge because they are older. Since they are twins, Jane is just as old as John.”
“But they told Jane she is responsible to keep up the house and take care of us men,” Tom explained. “We are following their rules; we didn’t make them up. You and Jane are the rebellious ones. John told me we would have to report you to our parents if you keep bucking our authority like you do. Our parents told us to get along. They will not be happy with you and will punish you severely.”
“That isn’t what our parents said, Tom.”
“Yes it is. You can try to interpret what they said differently to get out of doing what you were told, but in the end you will be disobeying and disrespecting our parents. Now go get me a big glass of water. I’m thirsty.”
Jane ducked out of sight as Sally started toward the house. She hadn’t realized John and Tom were comparing notes, or that they had gone so far as to decide their parents had given them authority. She thought about what to do as she hoed the garden and collected vegetables for supper.
Then she remembered the list of names and numbers their parents had left with them. She went in the house and called one of the numbers, then yelled out the door and asked Sally to come in and help prepare supper.
“Go get the picnic basket, Sally,” Jane said when Sally had come inside, "and then I want you to go pack some clothes for yourself. We are going to a cabin our parents provided for us if things get too ugly.”
Sally’s eyes grew big and round. “Our parents provided a cabin for us?”
“Yes. Leaving is the best we can do to get along,” Jane explained. “We have to behave as is becoming to a Divinity, so we have to leave for awhile. John and Tom were told to treat us with respect and love, but they are not. The longer we stay here, the less they behave like Divinitys. Our parents told us to take care of you and Tom. Since John and Tom are not allowing me to obey our parents, I must take you to a safe place.
That night, while the brothers were asleep, Jane and Sally crept out of the house with clothes, food, and enough money to buy more. They walked all night until they came to the cabin their parents had provided. They found the key in the crotch of the tree, and let themselves in.
The cabin suddenly flooded with light and their parents rushed forward to hug them.
“Father, Mother,” Jane said, “what are you doing here? I thought you were across the country by now.”
“We were,” Mr. Divinity said, “but when we saw what was going on at home, we knew you needed us here to comfort you.”
“You saw?” Sally squeaked.
“Of course,” Mrs. Divinity said. “We always keep our children under surveillance.”
“But why didn’t you come stop them?” Jane protested.
“It was important to test you all,” Mr. Divinity explained. “We wanted to give all of you a chance to see if you really loved us, or if you were just pretending.”
“Well, done, my daughters,” Mrs. Divinity led Jane and Sally to the next room, where a table was beautifully set and loaded with a thanksgiving feast. Mr. and Mrs. Divinity kissed their daughters and seated them at the table, then loaded their plates with food, and encouraged them to eat their fill.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com
Chronically Self-Centered Spouse Series - Nope, I'm not doing this series. Nope, Visionary Womanhood is not doing this series. But I do thank Natalie for linking to it over there a couple years back...
6 months ago