Monday, August 11, 2008

I love my little sister, Bethany. Of course now she's "all grows up" and fabulous - well traveled, fluent in French - an art major no less. She has more friends than I can count and these days I pine for her hand-me-downs.

As a little girl, Bethany was profoundly perceptive. The youngest of six kids, she learned to relate to (and connect deeply with) all of us; always eager to listen, to support and to encourage. My husband remembers his first visit to my family's home when we were dating. He says he was nervous sitting there - wanting to please my "scary Texas father." Bethany, seven years old at the time, seemed to sense his anxiety and sat down on the sofa beside him. "Can I get you a sandwich," she asked, smiling her genuine smile, turquoise eyes sparkling.

The thing is, fabulous Bethany has retained that sweetness, that innocence, even in the midst of a vain, self- absorbed culture (I know - it isn't entirely disposable - I mean Jack White is pretty amazing). But for the most part, I think, to be genuinely concerned for others and to be true to one's faith (morals and all) is to stand a part. In college I was about as secure as Kurt Cobain (sans musical career), my choices almost as poor. So it astounds me to see this beautiful young woman acting out her Christianity.

Bethany's birthday is August 15th - which is Dormition in the Orthodox Church - the day we celebrate the Virgin Mary's falling asleep in the Lord. The Dormition icon pictures Christ standing behind Mary in the funeral bier, waiting to receive His Mother's soul into heaven. How beautiful is that? My "Building an Orthodox Christian Family" invaluable handbook states that like us, Mary needed to be saved, but we celebrate on August 15th, that, "what happens to Mary happens to all who imitate her life of humility, obedience and love."

My prayer for my sister, as she begins her senior year in college, is that she looks to Mary as an example of faith, obedience and strength. I know the road will not be easy and I ache for her because I know she will experience pain in the process. But, I rejoice with her as well, because I know that Christ promises, "peace that surpasses understanding," and through Him lies our hope.

Happy 22nd birthday, sissy. I love you more than you know.

1 comment:

Molly Sabourin said...

Happy Birthday Beautiful Bethany!!

That was fantastic, Paige. I am so glad you have decided to share this creative, internal, expressive part of your life with us!