Historical Setting, 562 C.E. Gaul
What if Colleta’s widower cousin would choose a troll for his wife? What if the “troll” of this “what if” is her own lonely sister-in-law who too lithely accepts these abuses of gossip? What if it becomes known that the scared and hurting target for ridicule from her sisters would turn out to be, neither a pagan nor a heretic but a God-beloved human being with the possibility to be her cousin’s bride?
In truth our chat is not about pagans or curses or about the burning of the church or even about moralities of good and evil. It is that Colleta is simply afraid she will not be loved. She sees herself a possible target of gossip and she imagines she could find her own self isolated from family. Out here so far from her sisters she could fall under the same curse of loneliness that haunts Eve. Accepting Eve as family is not just Ezra’s duty or this father’s plea; it is a horror Colleta may have to face in her own mirror as the mundane shifts of time quietly take her from beautiful bride to some dreaded misshapen creature, victim of age and motherhood and whatever else are the ill-defined fears and curses distorting her once childish beauty. To compare oneself with another who was ridiculed, and then to find yourself wanting also — this is the odorous and greening meat of envy.
Dear God, thank you for this clarity of vision. Help me answer with understanding. Amen.
But how may I answer her now? She is awaiting a righteous patriarchal judgment or maybe an argument from me, or at least a verbose defense of trolls. But now I have vision enough to see that the rightful remedy is not winning the argument but offering her the fearlessness of a parent’s unconditional love.
“So Papa Lazarus are you silenced by the curse? Or do you still want to defend my evil cousin?”
“I was not silenced by any curse but by a more thoughtful perspective. Colleta, I can see that you are the cause of my son’s joy and you are even the driving force of his hopes and dreams. You share with him your wonders — the warm home and of course your amazing and thoughtful children. You are not a little girl bride anymore, but a great and essential peasant matriarch. It is that strong and wise Colleta to whom I beg the widening of your warm circle to include Eve. That is all I am asking, that she find refuge from loneliness within her family.”
(Continues Tuesday, February 11)