Whenever we talked about our family friend Sister Rosemary, we always said,
“Rosemary is cool,” although I’m not sure why, because really she was the opposite of cool. She was sensible and kind and her eyes crinkled with she laughed. When I was thirteen, I went to spend the night at her apartment. My brothers and I tended to run in a pack, so I’m not sure why it was just me in Sister Rosemary’s simple apartment. Before we went to sleep, we sat on her hard little couch and held hands to pray. Or rather, Rosemary prayed and I sat there feeling self-conscious.
“Thank you, Jennifer,” she said after she was done speaking. “You have a beautiful spirit and it’s wonderful to pray with you.” Then we went to sleep.
I hadn’t prayed at all. I thought that made me a faker and probably a bad person. I hadn’t yet learned what Sister Rosemary knew, that none of us are all one thing and that inside the awkward, anxious teenager on her couch was also a beautiful soul, someone with whom it was a joy to pray.