Our Lady Of The Forest

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Everyone wants a happy ending. Sometimes, there’s just no happy ending to be had.

This sentiment is one thatt about had me in tears last night. I’m currently reading David Guterson’ss, “Our Lady of the Forest”, a novel about a 16 year old homeless girl who sees images of the blessed virgin in a Pacific Northwest rainforest.

Other characters in the story include a father and son, Tom and Tommy Jr. Tommy Jr. is a quadraplegic resulting from a logging accident.

The priest who visits the family keeps thinking how sad it is to see this 19 year old kid in a wheelchair, how awful it is for the kid to be so distant, uninterested and angry with the world. The priest is at the home to hear confession and give communion. When he asks Tommy Jr. to confess his sins, the kid simply says, “It’s hard to sin in a wheelchair.”

Everyone is looking for a happy ending, the priest thinks. Where is the happy ending in this story? Sadly, the priest thinks, there is not one.

And the priest is right(and yes, I know I’m acting like these aree real folks, not fictional characters). It IS a sad story, simply because the fictional Tommy Jr. is in the stage of despair and self-loathing. Will he get out of that and find a happy ending? Will he make a happy ending himself? These are only things that the person him/herself can determine.

Reading the thoughts of the priest just shed so much light on how we want everything to be wrapped up pretty in the end. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it does not.

The key is to be respectful of anyone going through difficult times-especially if those times seem permanent. We cannot(and should not even try) to minimalize the situations of another by saying, “Well, maybe everything will work out…”Simply be supportive of whatever realm this person is in. Help and support will make changes faster than trying to force change on another.

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