Without a secret puppet shadow, I enjoyed my status as tribal matriarch without fear other than historic discovery the danger of which faded with times fog. Her past concealment, however, suddenly was renderer exposed, not to others but to me. I was forced to acknowledge and accept the evil within me.
During my school years, friends drifted in and out. Fickle fate granted a continuing few. Afterward, they were shipmates to common ports of call until we deployed to our different shores, except one.
I was blessed with a lifelong shipmate, Julie. We met in grade school.
What first attracted us? I can’t remember. I was a protean, rural, Asian girl of dark complexion, a stowaway who snuck on a public-school bus and scurried to Saint Clare’s. She was a pedigree, urbane, freckled girl with almost translucent skin, driven to school from afar by her mother. Blond, blue-eyed, she was in a stable family of wealth. I, with straight black hair, dark brown, almond eyes, was in a dysfunctional family of poverty.
So different, but there were common bonds. Loneliness was one. We didn’t fit in with the others. Ugly ducklings, we shared sarcastic humor and questioned Catholic school orthodoxy that others swallowed whole. Despite our differences, therefore, we drew together, outer moons circling one another as we orbited the school’s popularity gravitational center. The bonding also developed on a other shared characteristics, our assumed superiority, sense of humor and secrets we told one another and no other.
On grade school graduation we both were among the select, those accepted to Notre Dame High School. There, we molted our ugly duck feathers to become swans. From her puberty cocoon, she fluttered out trim and statuesque. Her freckles faded to attractions on a beautiful face. Unknown by me, I transformed from an ugly duck to the swan Dad predicted
In high school, our friendship coalesced into the friend’s forever, one for two, two for one level. She was my maid of honor, I, her married maid of honor. We trusted each other with secrets. In our senior year, I alone knew when she got pregnant, who the bad boy was, where it occurred, (in the back seat of his hotrod Camaro with tuck and roll upholstery, at the Moonlight Drive-in). I knew when she left for the secret abortion in Mexico and her being sterile when she returned.
I confided to her my driving lessons, first kiss, engagement surprise, Vixens rush, hubby’s Squirt and Alviso’s train kiss. She knew I was a virgin on the altar, my honeymoon highway musings, Motel 6 virginity surrender, Disneyland’s ride delights and Titanic panic on seeing the Queen Mary. I revealed my marriage experiences, my birthing pangs, and my parent’s secrets.
I knew about her University of California, Berkeley dates, her engagement, her husband’s infidelities, the details of their divorce and who the other woman was. She introduced me to her potential spouse replacements for my approval. The first I chose refused to sign her financial prenuptial agreement. The second did.
He was a man broken by a wanton ex-wife, had a daughter, was a good husband and most important, was socially compatible with hubby and I. Every year we visited and took trips together.
Our friendship survived our marriages, her divorce and my relocation to the Pacific Northwest. Mail, phone and later email kept us in contact. Distance, however, does not make the heart grow fonder. The time spans between contacts crept longer. The adolescent, friends forever, two for one, one for two, faded.
As time passed, she became bitter about her parochial school education, the priests’ and nuns’ terror tales of hell that caused her fear, confusion, and guilt into adulthood. I sermonized we should have empathy for them because they’d gotten enmeshed for life in Middle Age habits due to vows taken when young while we’d escaped.
My preaching to assuage her ire never worked. My lectures were tainted with my enjoyment of Catholic spiritualism, church music, Roman and Greek classics read at Notre Dame and respect for a priest who helped Mom and my family.
Life is unfair but the Old Maid cards I’d originally been dealt had turned into aces due to luck. Her cards had turned against her. I wallowed in my undeserved smug superiority. To tell her to dwell on the positive of parochial education and avoid God’s reprobation, even when slapped by God's strange ways, was condescending, a hypocritical, pontification irritant in our relationship.
In truth, I never was her friend. I’d betrayed her. She never knew my secret puppet shadow persona. She knew about my swing shift tales but not of Edward, not a whisper. With him and his replacements, I was unfaithful to hubby and her. Like my husband, she knew me but knew me not. My super mom and wife persona lied to her again and again of who I was. The me she saw was the one I wanted all to see.
My betrayal was a lie of omission. After I confessed to Gabriel, I took a step to be true and told her I’d been unfaithful in marriage. It was a tiny step into honesty with no details.
My revelation re-cast me in fractured light. She was hurt, no devastated, a second divorce for her. Her lifelong friend was not the friend she knew. She’d experienced the pain of infidelity, saw me for the first time as a betrayer, like her philandering first husband. My hypocrisy exposed, she sympathized with hubby, not me. She’d been honest with me about everything and falsely assumed I had too.
She’d never revealed a secret I’d told. Why hadn’t I trusted her? Her reaction alarmed me. She knew hubby well. I didn’t want to take the risk of her betraying me back by revealing what I’d revealed.
I selfishly protected myself. I added hubby knew, it was one time, and it was in response to his swinging fiasco, insurance coverage in case my honesty attempt boomeranged. Seeing me in a different hue, saw through it, knew there was more. My added lies furthered the dissolution of our friendship. The infidelity topic never came up again. We both managed the bilge pumps to keep our friendship on an even keel while it sank.
Unrepentant, I patched the honest tidbit leak in my subconscious. My error was telling her a little not omitting the lot. Like when Mom revealed her past, she couldn't un-hear what I’d admitted. I regretted my honesty lapse, not my years of betrayal.
As our friendship floundered, the realization my deceit ruined what was wonderful, gnawed on my conscience. It was too late to confess all and no way to refloat what had sunk. The revelation hurt but a much greater shock of admission was coming, a terrible truth about myself, hidden from me until her death, a death by suicide.
Hubby and I, sans secret puppet shadow, drove down to Los Angles for a mini-vacation, a get out of the rain trip in the winter of 2015. Like usual, I emailed Julie. Her husband emailed back. They were looking forward to seeing us but she had "issues". We needed to limit our visit to two hours instead of our typical overnight stop. I assumed her “issues” were my lie of omission and set thinking about what I could do to re-establish what once was but was gone.
They lived in Saratoga, an upscale, hill city, of Silicone Valley. The oak trees surrounding her house were sculpture into bonsai shapes as if owned by a giant. My mind still struggled for a way to address her “issues” as we drove up their driveway, walked up the brick pathway, climbed the steps and tapped on the big front door with beveled glass window panes. As we waited for it to open, I had no answer. I did notice the lawn had weed patches, so atypical of Julie’s fastidiousness.
Her husband answered, led us in the spatial living room and sat us down, all too formal. After an uncomfortable time-lapse, she came out, greeted us in a Chinese silken housecoat, still not dressed to face the day even though it was two o'clock. Instead of her normal neatly coffered hair, wisps of disarray shown. She looked haggard.
Is her greeting me in her housecoat her saying I'm no longer important to her?
We hugged, a social gesture I've never enjoyed with most due to insincerity but enjoyed with Julie. As we hugged, I felt her insincerity. We sat and sought easy conversation as her husband brought tea, coffee, and little avocado and cheese sandwiches. He placed them on the ornate coffee table. I noticed a slight tremble in her hand when she held her teacup.
Is she so upset with me she trembles?
Stymied for comfortable words, her husband got up and brought out a pistol he’d purchased to show hubby. It was a Sig Saur 380, like the one I got for shooting Paul. Hubby announced I had one just like it and I’d trained with it to be a dead eye. Julie flinched. She knew I didn’t like guns. She knew there was more, other lies of omission.
After her husband put the gun back, the conversation again lagged. Breaking the silence, he announced his oldest grand-daughter was turning sixteen and getting her driver’s license. My mind flashed to hubby teaching me to drive and my first kiss. I related how our kids got their driver licenses.
The conversation slipped into second gear. We prated on about our children, grand-children and even my new great-grandchild. The three of us, in selfish bravado, unknowingly exacerbated Julie's childlessness. She sat silent. Tit for tat, her husband and I matched offspring experiences with hubby seconding. Soon the two hours had passed. Remembering the visit stipulation, hubby got up and declared we needed to rush out to avoid five o’clock inane traffic.
On the porch, Julie and I were alone for a moment. I hugged her and pointedly asked if she had an issue we could discuss. Her body was stiff. She dryly replied, no. After a cheek kiss, we parted. Descending the brick pathway to the car, I looked up again at the bonsaied contorted oak trees and made a note to sculpture our yard's fir trees.
As we drove the re-routed Monterey Highway, aka US 101 south, hubby analyzed our brief meeting and speculated on her suffering Parkinson’s disease due to her hand tremble. I knew it was something else. Her stiffness when I hugged, her lack of return cheek kiss, her dry no, I knew it wasn’t Parkinson’s, it was other “issues”.
Once again, we stayed in Santa Barbara before descending into the LA freeway traffic, now amazingly without its rug of smog, an EPA miracle. It wasn’t at the Motel 6, still there to nostalgically remind us of our wedding night. We stayed at the Bacara, just north of Santa Barbara, near Goleta. Bacara is a hidden gem of what California once was and still is in reserved spots. Its early California, mission influenced architecture captures the leisure days when California was an unfettered paradise ruled by “Californios”. Staying there takes one back in time to a visit in an early California hacienda on an undisturbed coast.
When we first discovered it, I was enthralled by the buildings' ability to capture the history of early California, the Alhambra archways, the heavy wood arched doors, and the black wrought iron fixtures. In its lobby, one wouldn't be surprised to see Zorro in mask and cape appear behind the counter or even friar Junipero Serra. Its guest rooms are cottages, splayed on a gentle slope, down to a private beach. Constructed in 2000, it has an early California timelessness.
We dined in one of its restaurants, pleased to have Boodles Gin martini, a Singapore Sling taboo for me when with hubby. Unable to afford an ocean view room, we strolled, two Q-tips, hand in hand in the morning to its open beachfront restaurant, content after a night of renewed intimacy. As we passed a cottage, its female occupant was on its little veranda, a falcon on her leathered gloved arm. With a flip-up, it soared and brought back a seagull. Released, the gull squawked off, apparently none the worse except for ruffled feathers. It was obvious we were among guests not in our social circle.
The wealthy do eat differently. At the beach restaurant, we had delicious omelets with cheese never tasted before comingled with mushrooms of a species unrecognized. The crisp hash browns were speckled with scrumptious veggies. The exquisite sourdough toast, with British marmalade, was framed with straight black coffee, the real Java. We watched the waves gently roll in, each giving their final little plop of applause, as if not to disturb the tranquility. The Pacific displayed its pacific side for our morning repast pleasure.
My cell phone shattered the serenity. Reaching for it, I reflected,
I should’ve left it in the room. It’s Julie’s husband, what’s up?
When I put it to my ear, he was hysterical. He had to slow down and repeat it.
Julie was dead. She’d shot and killed herself. I switched to hysterical mode too. Hubby and I scrambled up to our room, threw stuff together, hauled it out, checked out and drove back to Saratoga, surprised not to be ticketed on the way.
Again, as on my wedding night, thoughts drifted through my mind as we drove Highway 101. What? Why? How? It was a jumble with a constant theme, was it something I did or said?
Tidy to the end, Julie had laid her head on a pillow and shot down to avoid blood, brain, sinew, and bone from defacing the wall. When we arrived, the scene had been cleaned, the bed removed. Our only responsibility was consoling her distraught husband. He swung from tears to rage with his versions of, What? And Why? He knew the how. It was his new pistol. He assumed guilt for having brought it into the house despite our disagreement.
In response to our tepid questions, if it was something we said or did, he assured us it was not. It was her "issues" she'd been diagnosed with OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It was progressing and she was more and more dysfunctional. I knew she was always fastidious but wondered if she was obsessed with my betrayal.
The next day we returned home, our vacation rubble, blown apart by a shot fired in Saratoga. I remained shell shocked.
The funeral was delayed for a month, a secular service in Los Gatos, for ashes. Her ashes were in a cemetery driveway marble mailbox, the latest drive through convince. They were not present at her service. I mused she'd missed her own funeral, a thought I knew would make her smile.
The spartan service was well attended, mostly by people unknown to me. People’s lives are like oranges, divided into segregated slices. Those unknown, were other slices of Julie, a reminder we only partially know another, even a best friend. At the husband's request, only the funeral director delivered a eulogy. I was relieved my prepared spiel was unnecessary. I didn't trust my voice or emotions before the throng.
In the lobby, her life in pictures was splayed on cork boards, pin held photos of her and me among them. After the service, I met a few old acquaintances and re-connected with our past saying banalities. Befitting her wealth, a sumptuous lunch was served at an upscale hotel in downtown Los Gatos. I met the relatives, until then unknown. While her husband was cared for, the bulk of her estate went to a faraway cousin I'd never met.
Attending the previous Notre Dame classmate's funeral caused the question, who am I. Julie’s resulted in a self-perception answer, beyond adulteress. I’m despicable.
The time from her death to the funeral service allowed thirty days of reflection. By then, I realized I’d never been her friend. Despite shared interests, humor, and secrets, I’d treated her like I’d treated others, except family.
I'd always been sensitive about family, defended them even when obviously less than perfect. Hubby knew; never berate my family, the family before our marriage and the extended one afterward, atomic or molecular. If I didn't have something good to say about a family member, I didn't mention them. If there was something good, I trumpeted it.
That's not what the shocking revelation was. It was my trumpeting me. I'd always referred to myself in a self-deprecating manner. During the thirty days before the funeral service, it slowly dawned, that was not true. My self-deprecation comments always had the hook of ego hidden within. I was constantly at war to prove myself superior.
In school, I told classmates I was poor and made my school uniforms because I couldn't afford a Hart's Department store one. In truth, I was bragging I was superior because I could make mine. My hopping on the public-school bus was bravado of my stealth. Engaged at seventeen wasn't just because I wanted out of a dysfunctional household. I was bragging a man wanted me. The real reason I'd gone with Gary to see salt ponds was because he'd stayed by my window when the other girls flirted to distract him, proving my superiority.
Initially, I had an inferiority complex with Julie. Her wealth and stable family contrasted unfavorably to my presumed superiority. She was the oak tree, I a mistletoe parasite, clinging in her branches. It was, a symbiotic relationship, my esteem enhanced by association with her, she enhanced with me as an ornament.
After her abortion, divorce, childlessness; my marriage, children, grandchildren, hubby’s successful business, our relationship shifted. I was the oak, she the ornament.
Yet what had I done? I retained my proclivity to insert hidden declarations of superiority. My arrows of bravado remained. I’d concealed my adultery because it would lessen my superiority. Instead of telling about my debasement by Paul, I’d piled on about kids, grandkids and our wealth created by hubby and me, superior because it was earned, not inherited. It wasn’t blatant. It was subtle yet always there, hidden in self-deprecation expressions of friendship. Yes, she had “issues” beyond me but I’d added to them. I was a suicide accomplice.
Did exposure of my gun ownership, the boasting of grandkids, our mention of reservations at the Bacara push her over the edge? Her husband proclaimed, it was nothing we said or did. I still felt guilty, guilty for a life of betraying her, using her to ensure my superiority. During the funeral service, I vowed to root out those hidden bravados which fed my ego at the expense of others. I didn't need to compete anymore. I'd won life's rat race. I didn't need ego crutches which made me do evil things. That was my vow as I prayed for Julie’s forgiveness, the forgiveness of being her worst enemy.
Back at home, queen of my little tribe, I recommitted myself to the right side of God.
I totally abandoned my secret puppet shadow, rooted out superiority innuendos and prayed for Julie’s forgiveness. I accepted my sins, re-connected with God and vowed to sin no more. I dissociated from my super mom and wife persona, detached myself from her implied words and actions and attempted to redirect her away from slinging arrows to slake my quest for superiority. Reoriented, I attempted to mirror what’s best for others not me. Still a residual feeling of iniquitous anxiety persisted. I couldn’t extract it because I didn’t know what it was.
It wasn’t residual guilt over my last gasp spree of infidelity. It was not caused by any of my adulteries, betrayals of husband or Julie. It was something else awry with my soul, a pervasive angst of the spirt After William, I soul searched and falsely concluded no one loved me. Now I soul searched wondering if it was me who loved no one.
As often, I mentally turned to Sister Mary Joseph from second grade for moral guidance. We held an, in my mind conversation, her guiding me to understand my spiritual discontent. I started as usual by questioning her.
“Sister, despite my return to righteousness, my confession, acceptance of what happened did happen, a realization of my superiority quest, it’s rejection and re-connection with God’s mystical body, something remains amiss in my soul.”
“Elizabeth, there are seven deadly sins in Dante’s inferno, do you remember them.”
“Yes, yes, I remember, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride, each a subsequent step down into hell.”
“Are you guilty?”
"Well, lust is a no brainer. I've confessed to that. It's the least of them, only gets you stuck in the first level.
“Sex, isn’t it?”
“Sex is God’s special gift of love. Sex is necessary for children. Lust is necessary for sex. Lust is not your sin.”
How about adultery, I’m guilty.”
“Yes, you committed adultery but adultery may not be lust. Lust is excessive sexual thoughts and desires. Why did you cross Edward’s threshold? Was it, excessive thoughts and desires for sex?”
“No, I crossed in fear, not lust but still crossed, ended up on his water bed and became a sexual woman!”
“Yes, you crossed the threshold and lay on his water bed but not for lust. You crossed the threshold for something else. Becoming a sexual woman was just discovery, the vindication of being female.
It’s not excessive lust to enjoy sex as a woman. Did lust, the excessive thought and desire for sex lead you astray again and again? Did you crave sex insatiably; completely give yourself up to dissipation and licentiousness to live a shameless profligate life? No, you were sated time and again with your husband during bouts of faithfulness. You always put family before your sexual satisfaction even if your fortifications jeopardized them. It was not for lust you put them at risk. It was because of something else.”
As with the ten commandments, the seven deadly sins were not as simple as they sounded.
“Well sister, I did have sex over and over with men not married to. I had sex with many men, isn’t that lust?”
“No, a prostitute has sex with many but not for lust. It wasn’t sex which you sought over and over, it was something else. To acquire redemption, you must understand what led to your wantonness, the root of your disaffection. Let’s forge ahead and move on to the next, gluttony.”
“I love to cook and eat”
“Are you obese? Do you eat to excess and waste food just to eat? Is your sin overindulgence?”
“No, I’ve always been trim. Mostly I cook for others, for art.”
“It’s not gluttony to appreciate God’s gift of food. Gluttony’s not your deadly sin.”
“Well how about the third, greed? You know, big house, expensive car, Porsche, Mercedes, five-carat diamond ring, obvious ostentatious displays of wealth. I’ve pigged out, no?”
“You possess many material things but do they possess you? The wonderful things God permitted you were from hard work and offset by your charity. You never purloined things due to the obsessive desire to acquire them. Why did you acquire pretentious exhibits of wealth? It wasn’t greed. It was insecurity, your intransigent insistence on having your perceived fair share, to disavow the lack of it when young. Did you not give up many alluring things when renouncing your affairs? Did you not tell your husband you would follow him back to Tropicana Village if that’s where starting his business ended up? You’re not beholden to material things.”
“Okay, I’m generous to a fault. I’m beholden to material things by youth insecurity and worried I wasn’t getting my fair share in life not because I coveted things. My life pile of material things isn’t an unreasonable accumulation considering wealth. Let’s say for me greed is a venial due to poor childhood.”
It’s not for those reasons you are guilty of committing a venial sin of greed. It’s the ruby ring.”
“The ruby ring Enrico bought? That was greed?”
“Was there not avarice in you plotting to get it and your rejection of the pearl ring? It's venial only because while there was avarice, in your heart the true motivation was due to something else, a different deadly sin.”
“Okay, I forgot about the ruby ring and how I manipulated to get it. Poor Enrico, I was unfair to him in hindsight. Now the fourth, sloth, I’m innocent, always a hard worker as Mom proclaimed.”
“Yes, you get a pass on sloth but you must understand sloth can also apply to a failure to see God’s gifts. I’m putting you down for minor infractions here.”
“Yes sister, there were times I failed to appreciate God’s gifts of children, husband, a wonderful life and my inadequate love for them and God.”
“The fifth deadly sin is wrath which results in unnecessary violence, a desire to seek revenge, failure to forgive and spite.”
“I did hit a girl unfairly once due to wrath but I’ve never done so since.
“Yes, you hit the girl but that wasn’t wrath but defense of your father. Your mea culpa on learning her misfortune pardons you. While you rued your slap, your sin was not seeking her out to apologize and seek forgiveness afterward. That's not a sin of wrath. It's a sin of another kind."
“If wrath is hating, I’m guilty of hating Paul but I hated myself more for being stupid. I never, however, sought revenge. Once free of him I accepted who he was, even if I didn’t forgive. I’ve struggled to have malice toward none but if I do, it’s toward him.”
“Paul’s debasement didn’t cause wrath despite your lingering animosity. It was despicable what he did to you, a real danger not only to you but your family. Would you have shot him in cold blood if he returned only to spew calumnies injurious to your reputation? We don’t know but if you would shoot him it would not be because of wrath. It would again, be a different deadly sin.
How about Enrico, was he subject to your wrath?”
“Enrico? Why do you suggest wrath for Enrico? Is it because I manipulated him for the ruby ring, the other half of my avarice?”
“Again, it wasn’t mortal but you were malicious toward him, no? Did you not enjoy his pleas not to abandon him? Did you not fail to wear his ring to spite him with malice aforethought?”
"Hmmm…. Okay, sister, I accept there was some wrath but it's venial, okay? With hindsight, I was petty and vindictive."
"Good, you accept guilt, the first step in forgiveness. Your sin against him, however, is not wrath and if it is, it was venial as he was a bit of an asshole. It's more complicated. Why did you enjoy putting him down? He was educated and you not, no? Was your demeaning deportment with him to mitigate your dysfunctional family background? Let's move on."
“Sister the sixth deadly sin, envy or jealousy I take a pass on it. I’ve never dwelled on what others have.”
"Not so fast. Why so many men? Why did you first agree to marry? Were you not afraid of missing out? Of not getting what you could? Did you not want more to paint on your landscape? Isn't what you did in life related to what others have?"
“I see what you say. It’s tied to greed but again it’s venial for me, right?”
“It’s not your deadly sin which keeps your ailing soul searching for a cure. Like greed, your sin of envy is venial. You sought to acquire what others had was not for the thing but because of something else.
The first and foremost sin, pride, is the seventh deadly sin. Did you know, Elizabeth, it’s the one which led to Lucifer’s downfall?”
"Yeah, I remember that one. Michael the Archangel pushed Satan into hell. Well, sister, I'm not guilty of pride. I've always suffered from self-esteem issues. Saint Michael can't throw me out of heaven for pride."
“Do you understand the sin of pride, the Queen of vices? It’s excessive self-admiration, vainglory for who you are. Your perceived low self-esteem was because you thought you were not the least but the best, the most deserving, the most accomplished. You thought you were better than others, much better, the best, yet you were ashamed of your family, your background and your perceived looks. You were upset because you were not the most admired, the fairest of all when you thought you should be.
Yes, you grew up poor but many do and most struggle financially. You, however, because of pride considered it an insult. It’s why you never shopped with your mother after food stamps, your pride would not let you admit you were shamed by poverty when you were condescending of others. You never invited friends home because you were ashamed it would detract from your presumed superiority. You shied away from boys, worried they would insult your looks. You preyed on Julie, first to enhance your image and then to proclaim your superiority. You were pertinacious in avoiding anything which detracted from your inner feeling of pretentiousness.
Once married you had everything yearned for. Still, you crossed a threshold; not for sex but to prove you were worthy of the attention and admiration you deserved, finally recognized as the illustrious entity you are. The earrings, dress, shoes slated your thirst of pride. You were narcissistic, loved to see your reflection in the mirror when having sex, an affirmation of your desirability, your power over the man.
You attended a formal event with Edward wearing a pearl necklace and black gown which you loved but confronted with the event's academics you were filled with unease, unease you would fall from his pedestal and be who you were, your pride shattered.
You were not heartbroken when Edward left, you were pride broken, no longer his exquisite Asian doll. Again, and again you sought pride’s reinforcement with others until caught in the act with William’s lover. The shoe’s poison dart killed your pride as he abandoned you, unworthy of his attention, to console her.
Paul was your pride’s penance. Your debasement was to avoid seeing the pride within you, your assumed superiority.
Pride is your sin Elizabeth, its why your soul still seeks peace because you have not understood your true sin against God, the sin of excessive self-love. It’s why during sex you made love to yourself.”
“Oh, no, sister, you’re right! Pride’s my sin. It’s why, when selected among the many, I went to Notre Dame, because it marked me as better than the others. Even my good points of being the best wife and mother are tinged with pride, my pride to see myself as better than others as is my helping others, donating to charity and assisting in the kid’s schools. Even helping Gabriel and my life-long friendship with Julie were tainted with pride!
Husband, his business, the children, grandchildren now great-grandchildren all my love is tinged with pride. It's why, despite my love of them, I could betray them and risk everything. It was
pride. My secret puppet shadow is pride!
What can I do now sister? Help me!”
“For every deadly sin, there is a compensating virtue. You can’t change what’s done. You must accept, accept who you were with humility. To understand not what you did but why, is the first step in humility. You still have time to sooth your disconsolate spirit. Just take one step at a time on the path of humility.”
As when young and often during life, Sister Mary Joseph helped me to move on and understand the complexities of life and my actions.
Like Mary Magdalena, I ask forgiveness and vow to sin no more.
Each day I take another step further into humility. My soul tags along the path to serenity. It’s going to be a long walk.
Author Notes: She struggles with the why, why she was wanton.