Thursday, February 7, 2013

Karen: Silent Prayer

This story picks up where I left off here...

                   Karen slid into the cold oaken pew and gazed up at the jewel-like light streaming through her favorite stained glass window. The leftover smell of Sunday's incense brought her back to her childhood days of seeking refuge under the marble arches of St. Edward's. She had come one night as a child when her parents were fighting. It was raining and she found the door unlocked. She had come to Mass hundreds of time with her parents. But the church was different at night. The quiet was absolute and eery, yet comforting. It seemed more sacred without organ music and other people.  Karen found peace and space to have faith in this dimly lit sanctuary.
                  When Peggy died, Karen stopped going to Mass. That was something they did together. With her mother gone, Karen only prayed in solitude. She knelt and closed her eyes and couldn't think of what to pray for. For Henry? That he might leave his blushing bride for her. Surely that wasn't a very Christian thing to wish for. For her own pain? She admonished herself to stop the self-pity. For the wisdom to move on? That. That she decided was what she needed most on this night. She made the sign of the cross and walked up the aisle. She nodded absently to a young man who passed her.
                   “Karen?” he asked.
                   She turned and looked at the skinny red-haired man. He was familiar, but she didn't know why.
                   “Yes. My name is Karen. I'm so sorry, I just can't place you.”
                   “Oh, it's alright. It's been a long time. We grew up on the same street...”
                   “Danny? Danny O'Neill? Is that you?”
                   “Ah, you do remember!”
                   “It's good to see you Danny. Are you well?”
                   “I am. I'm happy to be back. I've been assigned to St. Edward's.”
                   She took in his somber clothes for a moment.
                   “You're a priest now?”
                   “Not yet. I'm a deacon. I'll take Holy Orders when I finish my studies.”
                   Karen smiled. Danny was an unlikely priest. He fought constantly with other children when they were younger. Maybe that would help him. This neighborhood had gotten a little rougher since then.
                   “How about you Karen? How's life treating you?”
                   She shrugged. Where to begin?
                   “Oh you know. Ups and downs like everyone else.”
                   “How's your mother?”
                   “She passed away last spring.”
                   “I'm sorry for your loss.”
                   “Thank you,” she said, grateful he hadn't added “She's with Jesus” or “It's all a part of God's plan.”
                   “Listen, I was just going to grab a cup of coffee at the diner. Will you join me? I'd love to catch up.”
                   “Is that allowed? I mean, now that you're...”
                   He laughed.
                   “It's just coffee with an old friend. You'll just have to fight the urge to seduce a man of the cloth.”
                   “Ah, there's the Danny I remember,” she grinned. “Why not? It's been a strange day. I'll end it on a date with a deacon.”

                    My latest Karen story is in response to a Write on Edge prompt that asked us to draw inspiration from the picture of the stained glass window you see above. You can read more about Karen here