Saturday, January 21, 2012
arm in arm
The young girl shivers as she stands under the street lamp.Dressed warmly in black coat,red hat and scarf,her blue knees protrude as her legs are bare.She is in a school uniform and no pants are allowed.It is a February morning on Long island,the first day of Lent, and she awaits her friend from the next block to join her for the bitter cold six block walk to church for morning mass.
The thin morning light is barely coming into this quiet suburb when her friend joins her;they link arms and off they go.It is the 1950s, and no one worries that these girls will be accosted or snatched up as they walk.
For Lent,these two eleven year olds have chosen this as their sacrifice:getting up at 6:30 A.M. every morning for six weeks to walk to Mass.A few of the neighborhood boys said they would as well but they never lasted.Truth be known, the girls never made it past three weeks.That they made it that long amazes me now.This spiritual adventure and challenge was accomplished because there were two of them.Neither would have done this alone.They kept each other going.I can hear their voices,:"We can do this."Neither girl wanted to disappoint the other so on they trudged.After Mass,they would go home,get books and walk two blocks to the school bus.
Those girls now have grey woven through their hair and are grandmothers.Instead of a block away,they are a state away from each other.The older of the two,by three months, has a website that holds her thoughts on the road to the Holy One.The younger reads those thoughts daily and adds her own deep and sacred thoughts with Scripture that nourishes.
Through generous,amazing grace,my friend and I are still arm and arm,helping each other on the road to the One.