“They Did Their Best”, And Other Stupid Responses

(HT to Deirdre Saoirse Moen and Vox Day)

Moira Greyland, the daughter of the late science fiction writer Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB), has provided a necessary rebuke to those who “celebrate” her mother.

I must admit that I empathize with Moira. Her following poem is priceless, and offers a valuable lesson to folks–and the Christian world is absolutely stacked with them–who provide dismissive, pat, flippant answers to those who have been through terrible abuses at the hands of their parents.

They Did Their Best

By Moira Greyland

Something pat that sounds like understanding
So the ones of us left Who still cry when bereft
Risk guilt trips upon our heads landing

For the party line now Is to claim that somehow
Everybody somehow did their best
So the ones who did wrong Goes the new New Age song
Aren’t to blame, we should lay this to rest.

But it’s lies, there are villains who are still out there killing
Or else for our courts there’s no need
Our jails are not filled With innocents willed
By a system corrupted with greed.

My mother did her best, yes she really did her best
To drown me for not being her willing lover
My daddy did his best, oh he really did his best
And forced his preteen boyfriends to bend over.

Some people are sick, like to make people suffer
Some people just turn a blind eye
But pretending a monster is ribbons and lace
May condemn a small child to die.

My husband was a cop and much child abuse had stopped
Like the mom who put her baby on the stove
She threw him out of sight but the smell she couldn’t hide
And she didn’t come out smelling like a rose.

Did that mommy do her best? Would you tell that little one
“Forgive her dear, she must have been insane”
Would you tell that to those burns, To that lie will you return
And hurt those shining eyes so full of pain?

A victim does his best, a victim does her best
To love and live and give up grief and malice
But when we had no love, but what came down from Above
It’s surprising we have not become more callous.

And how to learn to cope And not give up all my hope
Is painful far enough without your lies
But if you had seen me then With blood pouring off my skin
Would you have turned a deaf ear to my cries??

And told me “Mommy did her best, yes, she really did her best
So stop crying and stop bleeding and forgive her
To cut you she’s the right, and to throw you out of sight
And not love you till you sexually deliver!!

What people tend to overlook is that there indeed are parents out there who reject all semblance of virtue. This is true of both mothers and fathers. In the case of MZB–and her husband Walter Breen–they subjected children, including their own, to physical and sexual abuses.

Like hell ‘they did their best.’ MZB both participated in and covered for the sexual abuse of children. Her husband was a predator, and she covered for him. They knew the truth; they knew what virtue was; they rejected it.

To drown your own daughter (son)–especially in the process of breaking her (him) sexually–is downright sadistic. And to think that the perpetrators were/are celebrated sci-fi authors speaks volumes about the highbrows dominating the SF/F world. I generally oppose book burning, but if anyone burned their books, I couldn’t blame them a bit. Personally, if I had them–and I don’t–I’d keep them as a reminder of the depths of evil and the people who perpetrate it.

Those types of abuses, however, also present a dilemma for the Christian. In the Scriptures, God is presented as the Heavenly Father, and yet there are children whose understanding of fathers is terribly shattered by what their earthly fathers and mothers did to them. Against that backdrop, pat answers–like you get from the Sovereign Grace camp–are extraordinarily corrosive.

I don’t know Moira personally, but I wish her all the best. While I don’t know where she stands theologically, she provides a sobering lesson nonetheless.

17 thoughts on ““They Did Their Best”, And Other Stupid Responses

  1. it’s hard to believe that someone chooses to do those things to you. i remember when my therapist and i began working thru the abuse, i tried to justify their choices … i said, “But they were abused by their parents.” my therapist did not let that stand. he stated strongly, “Ame, you were abused, but you do not abuse your children.” he was right. my parents had a choice. they chose those things. idk what’s easier to believe, but the truth must be stated.

    i (relatively) recently had a conversation with my dad where we were talking about his wife, whom we all hate – and that is very telling b/c there are some of us who love everybody. she is evil and conniving and mean layered beneath a thin veil of sweet innocence. he started to say, “Ya’ll are going to have to get over this with her,” meaning we have to learn to like her. to which i stated, “No, we don’t. We do not have to like her. She is NOT our step mom. She is your wife. Your choice. Not ours. And we do not have to like that you and mom divorced. We don’t have to like any of it.” he blubbered out something like, “I’ll have to think about that,” and the convo ended.

    what’s huge here is that i can now stand up to my dad like that. i can tell him, “NO!” i’m not a five year old little girl anymore whom he can overpower. i’m not a teenager whose mind is still being manipulated by him. i’m an adult who’s worked through all this sewage and knows i do not have to take his bs or lies anymore.

    the abuse from my girls’ dad to them was mental and emotional (so grateful nothing sexual – i watched him like a hawk and told him i would – he liked his secrecy & didn’t want to do anything that could be made public easily). but it’s still terrible abuse. i have told them to remember the good (yes, there were good things about him) but not to deny the bad. the truth. i’m HUGE on telling the truth. just yesterday my youngest and i were watching something where the bible verse, “slow to anger,” was spoken. and she said, “My dad needed that.” yes, he did. truth.

    i have also explained how the sick family cycles contributed to their dad’s abuse … AND how he made his choice – that it WAS his choice …. AND that they do NOT have to choose the same path. that path ends with him. it’s six feet under. gone. it is NOT theirs.

    satan has, once again, seeped his fangs of lies deep into society, trying to make us believe that we must accept all sin as good and thereby revealing that we *lo-ove* everybody!

    sin is bad. and while all sin is sin, there are levels of sin. incest, rape, abuse, and more, – these are bad and terrible sins. i believe there are levels of hell, very special places for the most evil of humanity. denying God sends one to hell, period. but i believe there are special places for those terribly evil.

  2. “i remember when my therapist and i began working thru the abuse, i tried to justify their choices … i said, “But they were abused by their parents.” my therapist did not let that stand. he stated strongly, “Ame, you were abused, but you do not abuse your children.” he was right. my parents had a choice. they chose those things. idk what’s easier to believe, but the truth must be stated.”

    This is a bit of a complicated issue. It actually is true that many abusive parents do not have any better way of knowing how to parent until you show them. Though they should repent once they are made aware of their sin. If they are willing a better way is to be shown for them to go.
    The founder of the women’s domestic violence shelter has this to say:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK1BhS_Ynqg

    “she is evil and conniving and mean layered beneath a thin veil of sweet innocence. ”

    Wisdom in discernment in important in choosing a wife. Many men and children have been wrecked due to such women.

    • yes, you have a point.

      however, i believe there is a point, somewhere in one’s life, where they get to choose. in some ways they definitely did their best. in others, they screwed up big time.

      my mother has defaulted to, “Well, it’s generational sin!” speaking in an, “Oh, well . . .” voice.

      not once has she or my dad ever said, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” rather … they said that my therapist used all kinds of manipulative therapies on me to persuade me to believe these lies.

      the truth is, most perpetrators do not accept responsibility for their choices; most continue to blame someone else or something else – almost always the victim. my ex blamed me till his last breath for every ill in his life. how healing it would have been for my girls and me if he’d once said, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me.” rather, we were always wrong – sometimes our girls, always me.

    • How dare you insult Joel Osteen like that! How dare you attack such a great man of Gawwwwd. Look at how successful he has been! /EndSarcasm

  3. I read The Mists of Avalon and had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was well written. On the other hand, she wrote about incest with great ease in a manner that turned my stomach. I also sometimes used to participate in the Society for Creative Anachronism which she co-founded. I enjoyed the dress-up stuff, but there were many people in the group who I discovered practiced alternative sexual lifestyles and quickly moved myself out of harms way and out of the group. I’m not surprised though deeply saddened that the authors real life was this twisted. I wouldn’t be celebrating her on mother’s day either. EWW!

    • On the other hand, she wrote about incest with great ease in a manner that turned my stomach.

      Now you know how MZB was able to do that.

      God bless Moira, though. Her resilience is impressive.

  4. I was shaking my head in disbelief as I read that post. How sad.

    I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately. My father recently experienced the latest in a series of health setbacks and has entered hospice care.

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