Sidney stiffly crawled out of the car. Her legs slowly made it up the long driveway. A huge front door stood before her. As Sidney reached for the wooden knocker, her eyes went to a blue metallic WELCOME sign.
“Had this sign always been here?” Sidney wondered, ” Possibly. It was never a part of my life. Not until now. Thank You God. I feel Welcomed.”
Still a bit hesitant, she wondered if she should knock or ring the bell. The answer was made for her as Mother almost knocked her down. The two stood motionless. Silence.
“Mother,” Sidney broke the quiet with a stammering voice, “I can’t just move back and live as your daughter. The trust fund is gone. I did horrid things. Please forgive me. Would you allow me to live in the servant’s house? I could work as a maid or something. Anything to be close to home, close to you. ”
Words poured out through tears .
Mother looked straight into Sidney’s eyes. “You’ve never left my heart my daughter.”
From the second story window Sara saw these two in their encounter. ” Well, isn’t this pretty? It won’t last long. I’ll be here to pick up the pieces, as always. That other daughter will cause pain and leave. For now, I will just be quiet and do what makes everyone smile.”
That’s what made people glad Sara was around. Why was Sara not happy she was around?
“I’m going for a walk around the lake. Yeah, as if anyone cared.” Sara kept negative thoughts to herself. A Good Girl never dares to speak them out loud. If the words aren’t heard, maybe they don’t really exist?
As Sara pulled the door shut, she saw the blue metallic WELCOME sign. This same sign she saw every day she entered and left the house.
“Had this sign always been here?” Sara wondered. “Possibly. It was never a part of my life.”
Turning, Sara walked down the stairs to the lake.
Weeks went into planning a huge, festive return party for Sidney. The house became joyful. A celebration like none the neighborhood had seen before. Everyone around the lake was invited.
The invitations didn’t stop there. Sidney’s painful experience in the city brought a keen awareness to the abuse felt by the women in the shelter. She extended invitations to these women feeling safe enough t0 venture to Sidney’s home.
Sidney recognized the love and grace God extended to her as one so very undeserving. With the love she received, she wanted to share.
Sara wanted to yank down every streamer. The “Good Girl” inside kept those actions at bay. Sara was very cool concerning all the party preparations. The regular activities of the household, needed continue. Sara gladly busied herself with those mundane jobs.
“This is a big show. The party will eventually come to a close. Money will be GONE. I will be left handling all the loose ends. In fact, I will probably need to be in charge of cleaning up after the thing is over. It will make people smile. It will make people glade for Servant Sara.” Sara kept these thoughts to herself.
The day of the party arrived. The sun was shining. The day was beautiful. Mother and Sidney were on the front lawn. Arm in arm, they walked around greeting the guests.
Sara stood glaring from the same second story window. “This makes me sick. Walking around, new clothes, smiling as though they are the best of friends. How can that daughter do something so full of lies? WRONG.” Each word came out with a spit.
“God ,” this was not said in a gentle tone. Rather one demanding rights.”I have been obedient. I do all the right things You ask and Mother asks. This is not fare. This is not just.”
Dialing Mother’s cell phone, Sara leaves a text to meet her in the den . Please come in one half hour .
Sara asks a simple table of coffee and biscuits be prepared. No need to be rude. Sara sat in the den waiting .
Mother opens the sliding door a little past the half hour but not much. Her face flushed with excitement from the party. Seeing Sara’s face, she knows it is time.
“Please take a seat Mother. We need to talk. I’m afraid two very important things are amiss here. One, this daughter of yours has been very rude. To the family name, to herself, to the money. Not to mention to you. I’m fearful for you. She’s going to use you up again, leave and, well you know I’ll be here to pick up the pieces”
These word come out out short and terse. There was no care or fondness left in Sara. .
“With all the evil she did, you throw a huge party for her. I have been here, taking care of you, doing EVERYTHING I am called to do. EVERYTHING!!! And more.”
Now the words are more deliberate with just a hint of the pain.
“What do I get in return? Nothing. Not even a movie night with a few of my friends.”
Mother slowly rose and brought her chair close to Sara. Sara’s body stiffened. Reaching her arm around Sara, Mother knows this will be a long hard battle for Sara. Just as the wild girl was a safe way to cover the pain for Sidney, the good girl is a safe way to cover the pain for Sara.
At the end of the prodigal story, the father told the older son:
You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours(Luke 15 31 MSG)
Mother had first hand knowledge concerning the grace God poured out so willing on all wounds and pain. Until both girls were willing to drop the covers and receive that love, they would use whatever tools necessary to cover their pain, to live, to survive.
The story is finished, but is the story finished? It is hard for Sara to know she is loved. God Loves the Good Girl. Does the Good Girl know she is love by God?
Thoughts, questions, comments, We are on this journey together. 🙂
I need to acknowledge again my gratitude to emily p. freeman and her book : grace for the GOOD GIRL. It gave me ideas to be able to write this short story.