Bets arrested the kettle mid-shriek and poured the boiling water into the waiting tea pot. She glanced out the window over the sink. Up the walk ran her beloved younger sister, Cass, holding a newspaper over her head to protect her new “do” from the gentle rain. She sensed Bets watching her and let go of the paper with one hand to wave.
Bets let her in the back door. They stumbled together in a comfortable sibling embrace. Cass, the eternal “little sister,” let go of the paper head protection, only minimally aware of Bets scooping to pick it up and put it in the recycle box.
The two women converged in the kitchen. Cass—taller, slimmer, younger—shook any remaining damp from her gold-tinged locks. Bets admired them, as she was meant to do. Cass had spent “a fortune” on the highlights. According to her, Sherri at Hair Affair was the only competent stylist and colorist (and “whatever other hair care “-ist” there might be) in the city. Bets absently touched her own graying mop as Cass prattled on about her morning, her plans for the rest of the day, and her usual litany of problems.
In her characteristic way, Cass ended her monologue with a last slurp from her mug, and then scuttled across the room to put her shoes on, already focused on getting out and on with her next task. Today she was meeting an old school chum, Lise, and they were going to see that Bobby Darin movie with Kevin Spacey in it. They had planned to play a round of golf, but the rain squelched that. Yes, there were people out on the links in the rain— die-hards and fanatics. She and Lise just golfed for fun.
Bets was treated to a quick hug, and then off Cass went. She ran as fast as her rather high heels would safely allow to her cute little yellow Mini. Bets watched her car fly, single-mindedly, down the street and out of sight, then sighed and started peeling vegetables for lunch.
And so it was, always. Bets was the Martha of the pair, Cass the gallivanting one, not Mary, per se, since she chose not to sit at the Feet of the Master, maybe more like the “bad Mary”, the one with the seven demons. She was hurt if anyone forgot her birthday, but rarely remembered the special events in others’ lives. She had big blue eyes that one drowned in. It was impossible to hold her responsible for what would seem like extreme self-centered pride in anyone else.
The idea of “making Cass accountable” for her behaviors was not new for Bets. As the big sister she had had opportunities in the past to rail about late nights, borrowed sweaters returned with stains, and questionable ‘friends’. And yet, beyond the rant, she felt little or no residual resentment where Cass was concerned. Why was that? Did she not care deeply enough about her sister’s eternal soul? If she, Bets, took time off from home and family, she was likely not going to find herself golfing or going to matinee movies or anywhere near a new car salesroom. She loved hearing about her sister’s adventures, naughty as some of them were. She admired her pluck. But she had no desire to do the sorts of things that Cass enjoyed.
What might look like total self-absorption in someone else wore well on Bets’ little sister. She was affectionate, cheery, and passionate. Bets knew in her heart that Cass, like everyone else, would face a time of suffering and character building.
Struck suddenly by inspiration, Bets grabbed a pen and began to list:
· Invite Cass along when I visit some of my shut-in friends
· Ask her to stay with the kids some weekend while Dave and I have a getaway
· Sign her up to help with the annual pie-baking fundraiser at the church school
· Talk to her about what a difference Jesus made to my life when Daddy died—we’ve always avoided the topic. Now’s the time.
A tear fell. God was giving her ways to be closer to her dear little sister, to relate on a deeper and more meaningful level.
She heard: “Make a disciple of Cass, instructing her in obeying everything Jesus commands, and leading her into baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (adapted from Matthew 28:19, NIV)
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