Anne crossed her arms in defiance. “I don’t get why you go to mass each week. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t have anything against Catholicism itself and I would ask this question of any person who goes to a cathedral, mosque, temple, or whatever. What is it?”
Willy looked at her in the mirror; she stood behind him with her arms crossed in that way that drove him nearly mad but he had gotten to a point that he refused to allow her to get under his skin completely. “I don’t think I can explain it to you, dear,” he said with resignation.
“No, I’m listening, really,” she insisted. “So you are Catholic and you go to mass. I’m sure your priest is a wonderful chap but look at what’s been going on! The Vatican has been in an uproar over priests doing things to children.” Anne turned from his steady gaze in the mirror. “And the whole jihad thing in Islamic faiths, and evangelicals and their conservative stance on everything. What do you see in religion?” She was on a roll and didn’t pause long enough for him to give a response. ” The world is getting worse by the day. There are starving children, people are still losing jobs and homes, there are floods and terrible storms killing people. How can you believe in a supreme being that allows things like that to happen?”
Willy checked his watch and smiled; he had just enough time to try and explain it to her after all. “Sit down with me, Anne,” he said as he motioned toward the window seat. He sat opposite her on the edge of the bed and took her hands in his. “What year did we get married?”
She sighed. “It was spring, 1973; our friends spent more time at the reception talking about Nixon stepping out of the Viet Nam war than they did about us.”
“What else do you remember about that day?”
Anne got a far-away look in her eyes. “There were flowers blooming at the park and the sky was so blue.” She closed her eyes and lifted her chin as if she could feel the sun from that day on her face. “There were some kids laughing on the swings who clapped for us when we said ‘I do’.” She opened her moist eyes. “It was a perfect day.”
Willy leaned back and let go of her hands. “The same God who made that day also makes all the rest. I believe he grieves when one of His own does harm to another through war, or abuses a child, or dies in a storm, or is hurt through neglect, or doesn’t have enough to eat. But do I believe He causes all those things? Absolutely not. The God I serve loves us even though we make some terrible decisions because of free will. And despite all the ugliness of the world, I am grateful for every blessing in my life; I am grateful for you and the kids, for health, and for all we have. And even though Father Matthew is sometimes boring, I am thankful that I live in a place where I can go each week and stand with others who are thankful too.” He stood up and ran his palms down the front of his trousers. “Now, I’ll be back in about an hour,” he said, and left.
Anne watched through the window as Willy pulled out of the driveway and wished she had as much joy inside as he did.
The Daily Prompt asks us to
Write about something you consider “ugly” — war, violence, failure, hatred — but try to find beauty, or a sense of hope, in your thoughts.
There is a verse in the Bible that suggests we should “count it all joy” when we face various trials and troubles because it helps us grow; even in the most uncomfortable and difficult times, when things seem bleak, there should be joy within. And no, it is never easy to grasp that when we are faced with all sorts of ugly news from around the world. We must however persevere and look for the joy within…