My Scandalous Mennonite Diary #20

Kelvin Bueckert
4 min readMar 27, 2024

-Mary

“That place is just what I’ve been dreaming of!”

The noise of a truck traveling down a dirt road fills the silence.

“You aren’t impressed, are you?”

“Not really.” What else can I say? The image of Albert and Francis sitting together at that table is burned in my mind.

Albert had been so proud and Francis so frail and beaten down.

All those years of abuse and what had anyone done about it?

“What’s the problem with it?”

The voice of Abe snaps me out of my thoughts. “Where do I start? That store needs a lot of work…and how much money will we be able to make in a small village like that?”

“Ah…but the price is right.” Abe flashes an excited smile.

“Of course it is but what would you expect at a price like that?”

“Mary, I know it’s a fixer-upper, but this is what I’ve wanted all my life.”

Abe carries on but my mind returns to the images of that anniversary.

They celebrated a woman who had been beaten down all her life. Beaten down by the man that she had married. And, people said this was sad…but it was alright because he is the head of the house. He has the authority to do that.

Besides, she probably did something to deserve all those beatings.

Those are the things that people have said but I can’t help but wonder…

Did Albert have the authority to abuse a woman that God loves?

Is that what the Bible really says?

“I’ve been working toward this for a long time. I want to do it.”

The voice of Abe snaps me back into the present. “But, what happens after you get it?”

“Then, I’ll be happy.”

“Isn’t there more to life than getting whatever you want?”

“I don’t know,” he says with a laugh. “I’ll let the ministers deal with those kinds of questions.”

“But what about all those people that the Church has hurt?”

Abe looks confused. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“You were at the same place I was. You saw Albert and Francis.”

“Yes I did but I don’t know what that has to do with me buying a store.” Abe cranks the steering wheel, turning the truck onto the dirt lane leading toward our little home.

“You know what has happened between them over the years.”

“Of course I do!”

“That’s the problem. Everybody knew about it but nobody did anything!”

“That’s not fair!” Abe protests as he hits the brakes and slows the truck to a halt.

“Not even the ministers or deacons did anything to stop it!”

“Well, that’s not their job, is it? The job of ministers and deacons is to deal with spiritual things!”

“What does it help to spend all that time talking about spiritual things if they aren’t willing to apply these spiritual ideas to the real needs that people face every day?”

“Mary all that’s in the past. It doesn’t help dwelling on it.”

“But it’s still going on! Look at the Janzen family! Jason just got arrested and he was still there singing gospel songs with the rest of his family, pretending that everything is alright. Nobody is doing anything about that either!”

There is a moment of silence.

Abe seems shocked by the things that I have said.

After a while, my husband slides from his place behind the steering wheel. “I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I don’t want to deal with it right now.”

“Abe. Wait a minute, I,”

“Mary, I said, I don’t want to talk about all that! I need to get my paperwork together if I want to make an offer on that store!”

The truck door slams. Through the dirty windshield, I can see Abe marching toward the house with purpose in his stride.

He doesn’t get angry easily but he is angry now.

I am alone.

Tears trickle from the corners of my eyes.

Just like they always used to do in the bedroom at my parent’s place.

Does a man have the authority to abuse a woman that God loves?

Is that what the Bible really says?

That preacher on the radio has been pretty clear about this. A man may be the head of the house but according to the Bible, it is clear that a husband is expected to follow the example of Jesus. Even to the extent of laying down his life for his wife if necessary.

Besides hatred and violence aren’t listed among the fruits of the Spirit. Not the fruits of the Holy Spirit anyway…

Still, I’m not sure what to do next.

Abe isn’t a bad person at heart.

He’s just having a hard time with me challenging the traditions that he’s always known.

I just wish I knew how to reach out to him.

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Kelvin Bueckert

Lives and writes on the plains of Manitoba, Canada…he is an actor, writer, and has also been known to peddle books on his website…www.kelvinbueckert.com