Saturday, July 16, 2011

Emily Remembers

 (From Charming Emily -- the first book a book in a series called "Blowing Sunshine")

Sister Georgina walked around inside the circle of folding chairs in the St. Joan House looking at the ceiling, at the floor, everywhere but in their eyes.

The tale of Snow White – and her sister Rose Red – is a tale of redemption, of faith, of the kind of love we should expect in life. 

The sapphire rosary wrapped around in Sister Georgina’s left hand tinkled joyfully as the gray haired, dimpled woman marched to the cadence of her own lecture

And the love, the ultimate love Snow White found was given to her freely, in her sleep. She had not sinned, yet she was punished. She was exiled, yet she found a home. She was cursed, and then redeemed.  A story not from the Bible, yes? But a story of love, divine.  Snow White did not need the Bible, she did not need to wear a cross. She was loved, always and unconditionally because God’s grace does not discriminate.

Last week, Sister had told them the story of Cinderella, again with a happy ending about love and God.

The week before that, it had been Sleeping Beauty, love and God.

And before that, back in December, before final exams, Sister Georgina told the story of Aladdin, only she ended it by telling them that everyone had magic lamps that could bring them great abundance.

Which, Emily particularly knew, was crazy.

And wrong.

And undermined the whole purpose of being Catholic.

Sister Georgina halted her march, exhaled with her palms up, arms open, and asked, “Now my children, what questions do you have for me about God? Or Love? How can I help you find your way a little bit better this week?”

The group clapped politely and dismissively. Without ever discussing it, the core group – all female, all Catholic, all scholarship residents of St. Joan’s House  -- agreed that the mandatory Tuesday prayer circle ended when the questions began.

They each stood slowly, reaching to their neighbors, shaking hands.

Peace. Peace be with you.

And with you.



Mike stood up first, then offered his hand to Emily.

 The gesture felt corny and pressured to her, like he’d mentally rehearsed it then waited for his cue.

She took his hand, stood up, allowed him to kiss her on the cheek.

Peace be with you, he said.

And also with you, she replied, eyes on the door.