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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Monday, June 18, 2007

A Short Story for Your Day

Here's a homegrown story for your reading pleasure:

Black
by Nick Senger

Johnny wore black to school every day. Black pants, black t-shirt, long black trenchcoat.

"You're a nice boy, Johnny," his teacher would say. "Why do you always wear black?"

"It suits me, Mrs. Parker," Johnny always replied. "I'm nobody."

"No one's nobody, dear," she said. "God has plans for everyone."

"Not me."

As Johnny went through junior high Mrs. Parker would see him on the playground or in the detention room, always wearing the black pants, the black t-shirt and the long black trenchcoat.

One day she saw his picture in the paper. He had been caught trying to steal a car. She visited him in jail.

"You're a nice boy, Johnny," she said. "Why do you always wear black?"

"It suits me. I'm nobody."

"No one's nobody, dear. God has plans for everyone."

"Not me."

A few more years went by, and Mrs. Parker heard about Johnny occasionally: two more stints in jail, then he was in the hospital, after he'd been injured in a drive-by shooting.

She stood beside the hospital bed. He was in a white gown under white linen sheets.

"You're not wearing black, Johnny."

He frowned. "I know, Mrs. Parker. I feel naked."

"You still want to wear black, Johnny? Why?"

"You know why," he replied. "It suits me."

"I have something for you." She opened up a box and took out a pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt. "These are for you."

He frowned again. "Mrs. Parker--"

"Don't talk," she interrupted. "Just promise me you'll wear these when you get out of the hospital. Will you promise me that, Johnny?"

He looked away and said nothing.

She left before he could see the tears in the corners of her eyes.

That was the last time she saw him. He disappeared from her life.

Years went by and Mrs. Parker got old. She got sick. She got admitted to the hospital.

When Johnny came through the door she almost cried. He was still wearing black. Black pants, black trenchcoat buttoned to the chin.

"Oh, Johnny," she cried, "you're still wearing black. Why?"

He smiled and put his hand on hers. "I tried the blue jeans and the white t-shirt, and I wore them for awhile. But I had to go back to black."

"But why, Johnny, why? God has a purpose for everyone."

"You're right, Mrs. Parker. And thanks to you I found my purpose." He opened up his trenchcoat so she could see the white collar around his neck. "You saved me, Mrs. Parker."

He took out the sacred oil and annointed her forehead. "May God bless you, Mrs. Parker," he said, and he made the sign of the cross, smiling again. "I hope you don't mind that I'll be wearing black for the rest of my life."

"No," she said. "It suits you."

Copyright 2007, Nick Senger

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posted by Nick Senger at 7:11 AM

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