Do you believe in evil?

Do you believe in evil?  Pope Francis is talking a lot about evil these days.

Evil is usually linked to a serial killer, a man-made attack on innocent people or someone who decides to kill their entire family.  Or Kermit Gosnell.  What I’m talking about is a much more subtle evil that is in our every day lives.

I do believe in evil and here’s one reason why:

Years ago I had a friend.  We went shopping, had dinner, spent nights playing cards and board games.  She had a young daughter who I had become very attached to.  On the surface it appeared we were very close and had a strong friendship, but 20/20 hindsight has told me something else.

I would lend her money which she never paid back, but I thought that she’s raising a kid all by herself and I was single and had a good job.  I gave up an apartment to her because it was better for her daughter.  Her life was full of drama and tangled relationships.   Nothing was her fault.

Just before my wedding she called me with an urgent request.  Her mother needed money for her mortgage payment.  My friend wanted to give her mother the money, but of course, she didn’t have it.  She wanted to borrow it from me.  It was a lot of money and my soon-to-be husband and I were paying for our own wedding.  I told her I would think about it and call her back.

I was torn.  There was something wrong.  She knew I was working three jobs to pay for my wedding.  Why didn’t she tell her mother the truth:  that she just didn’t have it?  Finally I decided to give her a portion of it and she promised to pay me back.

Some time after the wedding, I brought up the subject.  My friend hedged, but promised to call her mother.  She never brought it up again.

My uneasiness in the relationship was growing.  My friend wanted my new husband and I to become guardian of her daughter “if anything happened to her.”  I should point out that years earlier she had abandoned two other children for a married man.

I know what you’re thinking, but at the time I believed her reasons.  My husband and I discussed it, but it went no further.  I had gotten pregnant with our first child and I began to see this woman with new eyes.

She became bolder in our relationship.  She was always a know-it-all and she loved revenge.  At this point you are shaking your head and wondering about me!  Yep, I ignored her flaws.  To this day I couldn’t tell you why.  Perhaps my attachment to her daughter kept me in her life more than anything else.

Anyway she started bringing up an old boyfriend of mine in conversations.  At first I didn’t understand why, but then she would hint that there might have been something between them, while he and I were still together.  At first I was incredulous, but then I remembered little things.  He was a cheater (it was why we split up) and he had a habit of bringing me around the women he had slept with.  My blood was beginning to run cold and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up.

I wrote her mother a letter and asked her about the money and told her about the hinting about sleeping with my old boyfriend.  Of course, my friend’s mother had never asked her daughter for any money and in a kind way she told me she thought that her daughter and my ex-boyfriend had been involved.

I was about four months pregnant and I stopped contact with my friend and sadly her daughter.  I knew I couldn’t stay in touch with the daughter without her mother’s interference.  My friend tried to contact me through letters and phone calls.  I ignored them.  The thought of that woman near my baby sent me into a tailspin.

Now you’re probably wondering why I would call her evil.  Looking back on the years that I knew her and seeing the things she did to those around her, I would call her evil because it’s what she chose.  She would choose to hurt anyone around her for revenge, for her own gain, but most of all because it gave her pleasure.  I’ll never forget the smirk on her face as she hinted about sleeping with my ex.  I had done nothing in all the years of our friendship to warrant that kind behavior.

The last contact I had, was a letter from her daughter.  She had gotten pregnant at a very early age and I was invited to the shower.  I didn’t go.  I stayed in touch with my friend’s mother for a long time.  Her daughter’s and grand daughter’s lives brought her a lot of anguish.  My heart broke for her.  I couldn’t imagine it.

There will always be evil in the world.  There will always be serial killers and people who snap and start shooting in a crowded area.  But worse then that is the subtle evil in our every day lives.  It’s the little things that we allow because we think it’s harmless or there’s circumstances that can give excuses for the behavior.  But it comes into our lives because we allow it and it erodes away at our very soul and that’s when we have to turn and walk away.

I highly recommend M. Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie.  It’s an eye-opening read. It helped me identify the evil that was around me and delete it from my life.


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