This is such a powerful video about Jesus! God can speak through anyone!
This is such a powerful video about Jesus! God can speak through anyone!
The assignment was to write about a special memory you have about a wedding or to imagine what you would like your wedding to be like one day. I chose to do a little bit of both. The last wedding that I can actually remember was years ago, for my cousin and her handsome groom…
I remember sitting in the audience, watching the dress rehearsal with my mom and siblings.
The groom stood in the front with a formal white long-sleeved shirt without a tie (because who needs a tie when you’re being bonded by the ties of love? 😉). My dad began playing the piano beautifully, as he has done for many special occasions throughout his life. At the start of the song, my cousin’s older sister’s little girls came walking down the aisle as the most adorable flower girls ever. My cousin’s younger brother came next bearing the ring on a pillow. Next, the beautiful bridesmaids, two of them sisters of the bride, one of them the mother, one a sister-in-law, and the rest dear friends, proceeded down the aisle.
When the bride came down the aisle with her father while the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” played, her dress immediately caught everyone’s attention with its unique black and white pattern.
Then the bride’s father preached very shortly, and the whole ceremony ended with the “I dos” and the kiss.
The next day after the actual ceremony had ended, I remember dancing with my other cousin during the reception, the laughter and crazy games that abounded, and the giant cake for all to share.
I was too young to appreciate the wedding in the way I’d appreciate it now that I’m actually getting close to being an adult and thinking more about these things. Would I want a large wedding or a small one? What would I like my dress to look like? Where would I want the wedding to take place? These questions and more have now come upon me, but as I think more deeply about it all, while these details are fun and interesting to think about, they aren’t going to matter so much in the long run.
What is going to matter, is how strong the love is between the bride and groom. Does it sacrifice for the other person with Christ-like grace and devotion? Does it pull through hard times? Is it strong enough to last a lifetime?
With these in mind, I’ve recently thought about having a foot-washing ceremony at my wedding. By washing one another’s feet, you can symbolize the selfless love you have for one another and the way you’ll take care of each other for the rest of your lives. Of course, you don’t need to have this ceremony in order to love your spouse as Christ loves you.
In the end, weddings and ceremonies make beautiful reminders of the important moment when two souls establish their lifelong commitment toward one another. But it is a small reflection compared to the difficult yet amazing journey of life you will share with your spouse for the years to come.
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” ~Revelation 2:17
Serena used to glide when she had no stones. She used to leap across the sky swiftly and easily, smiling to the world, until she came to the tall, oak-wood door of home.
Then the day came when Serena lost her home, her smile—everything. She trudged down a road, slowly, never looking back at the oak-wood door.
That was her first stone, her first burden. Ever since, a dull, gray stone was added every day to the burden on Serena’s back, as she took the path to who-knew-where.
Serena didn’t know who she was anymore.
She sang a lament of a song as she fought the tears from escaping her weary eyes that had lost all brightness. She felt the stares and the glares, and sometimes she had to run because the stones hit her—people hit her with the stones. The weight would grow heavier and she would hurt deeper as she would trudge more slowly on the path to who-knew-where.
Serena had enough stones. She didn’t know if she could bear the weight of them any longer.
Serena knew she wasn’t any good—the stones told her so. After all, sometimes she’d hit the people trudging beside her with stones too. So, maybe she was the one to blame.
One day, Serena didn’t care what the stones thought—what anybody thought. The heaviness she carried was just too much. Too much.
She tried to glide again—to be free. She made a running start, but her one feeble attempt added another stone to her back. More weight, more pain, more tears.
She had made a mistake, and everybody knew it. They blamed her for it. Everyone blamed her for trying to be happy again—for trying to escape the stones that burdened her, that were now apart of her.
This was who she was. How could she have thought there was anything more for her?
And even if her leap of foolishness had worked, they said, it was the wrong way—she had taken the wrong path. All this time she had been taking the wrong path, they said. That’s why Serena had to carry the stones on her back. But which was the right path?
So many steps for nothing. So much pain for nothing.
Serena wept. Didn’t they see the stones on their backs?
People surrounded her, each gripping a stone twice as big as their fist.
Serena shuddered. She shrank back from them, but they blocked her from escaping. She became the center of the circle—the one object of attention. She was the one to blame.
Another stone was then added to her burden, and she cried out from the weight of it. Her knees gave way as she fell to the dirt ground.
It was too heavy. They were jeering at her: “Serena, with the stones on her back!”
“She tried to be free, to glide off the ground like a little bird when she’s nothing but a stone-carrier!”
“So many stones, so many stones! She’ll never find the right path, that one!”
She held her knees to her chest and sobbed at the sound of the angry voices. They blamed her, when she was too weak to carry these stones anymore.
“Whoever among you has never taken a wrong path—cast the first stone!” A male voice declared in the midst of the jeering crowd.
Serena looked up to see an unkempt man standing an arm’s length away. Standing in the center of the circle, right beside her. Being surrounded—being blamed—right beside her.
She squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for the heavy blow of the first stone from one of those people who had somehow found the right path and never strayed. She waited, sucking in her breath, listening so carefully, but only hearing shuffling footsteps and low, murmuring voices.
No stone came. Serena exhaled slowly and opened her eyes.
The dirty man smiled down at her, and behind him, there was not a person in sight. She looked left and right. She turned around to look behind her—not a single one.
“They didn’t . . . they didn’t blame me?” she asked in a small voice.
“Of course not,” the man said, reaching out his hand to her. “No one can follow the right path perfectly.”
Serena grasped his hand impulsively, using his strength to help her to her feet.
“Thank you,” she said, smiling for the first time in many years. But as soon as the words escaped her, she realized what she had done. She was on her feet again! She reached with her hand to feel for the stones on her back. Nothing. The heavy, dull stones that had burdened her for so many long years had completely vanished.
She ran and leapt over the dirt; the relief and joyous emptiness inside her was too much to contain. She was free of the stones and of everything that burdened her. The joy overwhelmed her as she felt the air blowing passed her as her feet left the ground.
When she hit the earth again, the dirty man beckoned her to come to him, so she stopped in her tracks and rushed back to the man who had saved her from the crowd and the stones.
He held out something to her—a small, polished white stone with small letters written neatly on the smooth surface.
“Whoever delights in Me, I give to them a white stone with words written to them, which only they can read.” His face beamed like a lantern in the darkest night. “I see you have found the joy to glide again, Serena. Now pursue it—never lose it. And travel the right path that leads to Me. For I have taken your burden upon myself. I have done it for you, and I will do it for you for the rest of your life if you will only trust in Me.”
Tears rolled down Serena’s cheeks, as she looked up at him through her blurry vision. The man carried an enormous burden on his back. It towered to the clouds in the vast blue sky—stones bursting out from the largest sack she’d ever seen. How had she not seen it before? He must carry the burdens of thousands of people, yet He still stood upright, smiling. Why, He must be the strongest man alive! She thought.
But she knew better. She knew that her dirty rescuer was much more than a man.
Serena hugged the man tightly, not caring that his filth spread to her cotton dress. The right path was worth such little discomforts, after all. It was worth the big discomforts too. It was worth everything she had.
Finally, Serena remembered the white stone that the man offered to her. She took it and rubbed the polished rock in her hand, stunned by its beauty. She squinted to read the message on it:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Serena looked up, but saw that the man had turned away and had begun traveling a narrow path. She hurried after Him.
From that day forward, Serena glided on the right path, following the dirty man who walked not too far ahead of her, with the enormous burden on His back. Sometimes she stumbled, but always the small white stone reminded her that there was One who carried her heaviest stones, and that someday she’d reach the tall, oak-wood door of home, never to be blamed of traveling a wrong path again.
Message on stone from Matt. 11:28-29
When a detective examines a dead old lady in a mansion and the three suspects: the butler, the cook, and the gardener, who will he prove to be the murderer?
The detective knocked on the tall, rusty door with one hand and gripped his notebook and cheap motel pen in the other.
The tall butler with a gash across his left cheek swung open the door.
“Good day, sir,” the butler said solemnly, ushering the detective inside to where a few police where surveying the crime scene in the main entryway. “Here’s Mrs. Washington, right over here.”
The detective looked where the butler pointed, his muscles tensing at the sight of dear old Mrs. Washington lying on the ground with blood oozing from her body. Her neck was lined with red marks as if she’d been strangled by a rope or necklace.
“Hello there!” said the cook, who came clomping up to the detective with his bulky figure and fittingly large black apron sprayed with some tomato substance. He shook the detective’s hand. “I can’t believe this happened, sir. I just can’t believe it. I hope you can sort this out and find the truth, exactly as it is.”
Just then, the gardener made her appearance, her floral dress and messy bun particularly drawing the detective’s attention. But as she reached out and shook his hand, he felt the stickiness and noticed the green stains on her fingers.
“I’m terribly sorry,” she said quietly.
The detective stared at the three in silence for awhile. The butler, with his scar and his austere politeness. The cook, with his tomato blasted apron and friendly smile. And the young clumsy gardener girl with her insecure demeanor.
“Does anyone else live here besides you three and Mrs. Washington?” the detective asked.
“No, sir,” the butler replied. “Mrs. Washington’s husband passed away a year ago, and her children have homes of their own now.”
“Where were you at the time of the incident—Saturday, that is today, sometime in the afternoon, according to my reports.”
“I was dusting the living room,” the butler said.
“I was cooking up some roast beef,” the cook said.
“I was watering the daisies,” the gardener said.
“Hm,” muttered the detective, jotting down some notes. Then he inspected the butler’s gash.
“How did you get that wound?” the detective asked the butler.
“Well, that’s the thing, sir. While I was dusting the living room and saying my prayers, I heard a scream, so I ran to the entryway where I heard the sound from and saw the cook strangling the old lady on the floor.”
“So, what about your scar?” the detective pressed the butler.
“Well, as soon as he got that old lady strangled, he looked at me and got so mad he drew out one of his kitchen knives he always has in his pocket and slashed me across the cheek.”
“May I see your kitchen knife you always carry with you?” the detective asked the cook.
The cook drew out his knife and showed it to the detective. “Just an ordinary knife, sir. Don’t know what the butler is making a fuss about.”
“Thank you,” the detective said, giving it back. All he needed was proof that the cook always had it with him.
“Now, cook, did you hear or see anything pertaining to Mrs. Washington while you were cooking the roast beef?”
The cook shrugged. “The gardener came by and gave me some fresh tomatoes to make salad.”
“Now, gardener, is there anything more to your point of view than that you were watering daisies?”
“Oh, yes,” the girl said. “I’m certain it was the butler. As I was watering the daisies, I heard a shout so I went running to the entryway. And there was the butler, standing above the dead old lady. He ran when he saw me. I don’t know how he killed her, though.”
“So you never stopped by the cook’s to give him tomatoes?”
“Tomatoes aren’t in season, so the cook uses store-bought tomatoes,” the girl said simply. “But the cook has a bad memory so I don’t blame him. He always thinks it’s tomato season.”
The detective was intrigued and scribbled down some notes.
“Now, do any of you know what Mrs. Washington was doing at this time, before one of you killed her?”
“Well, that’s easy,” said the cook, “she and the butler were about to walk out the door and go to Mass. They’re both Catholic, you know. But that’s when the gardener must have killed Mrs. Washington.”
“They were certainly on their way to mass, but I-I didn’t do such a thing,” stammered the girl. “I promise!”
“I know you didn’t,” the detective said, and then eyed the butler and the cook suspiciously. “But I know who did.”
Can you guess it before reading the answer below? Tell me what you think in the comments, or if you have any suggestions for improving my mystery-writing skills! 😉
It’s the butler — The detective noticed that Mrs. Washington’s neck looked like it had been strangled by a rope or a necklace, and the butler is Catholic and even mentioned he was praying, so he probably used a rosary. Also, the markings on Mrs. Washington’s neck are evidence that the cook didn’t do it, because if he did it, he would have used his bare hands, or killed her with the knife he always carries around. The butler gashed his own cheek to try to put the blame off himself and on the cook who always carried a knife with him. If the cook had done it, the cook would have probably put the blame on the butler, after hearing the butler’s accusation against him. Furthermore, the cook put the blame on the gardener, so if the gardener had really done it, she wouldn’t have given the cook the excuse that he forgot it wasn’t tomato season. And if the gardener’s testimony that the butler had done it was true, it makes sense that she wouldn’t believe that it was the cook.
(Photo by Niklas Siemens on Unsplash)
Today I will answer the question: Is there a mystery of the universe or world history or current events or conspiracy theory that you would particularly love to know the answer to?
I’ve always been fascinated with Roanoke island, where the famous English colony somehow completely vanished. In 1885, Governor White traveled back to England leaving the English colony in America behind. Due to the war in Spain, he didn’t return to Roanoke Island until 5 years later, when he discovered that the colony that once was found was now lost (“Roanoke Island”).
How can a colony totally disappear? Did Native Americans completely uproot the colony, pillaging from and scalping the people? Or was there famine or disease that devastated the people, leaving their belongings for the Native Americans to take as they pleased? Perhaps aliens took them away in a spaceship or there was a flood… Or maybe the English simply abandoned the colony in search for another one, and the Native Americans took whatever houses and possessions they left behind.
It’s so intriguing to me that this mystery as of yet has not been solved. It really shows how little humans know about the world compared to God. Throughout science and history books, the people writing the books have to eventually admit they haven’t discovered everything yet. I remember a fact I read on a poster one time, about how 90 percent of the ocean is still undiscovered. That’s a scary thought. The unknown has perpetually driven humans to either be afraid or to try to uncover the mystery.
What about living without fear and with a simple hope that God will reveal what we need to know in His timing?
Just yesterday, the pastor of my church talked about this verse:
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:27
That God would reveal the Savior of the world to even non-Jews is a wonderful thing; and the mystery itself, Jesus living inside us, is the foundation of life and truth. How can the King of all kings live within us? This we will never know until perhaps heaven, for His love and grace our unfathomable. Jesus, the Son of God and God Himself, sacrificed himself as an offering to God, so we wouldn’t have to die, and He rose again so we could live with “the hope of glory” budding inside us and growing its roots deeper every day in the rich soil of His Word.
Roanoke is a mystery I’d be honored if God gave me the answer to someday, but I’m thankful that today, the most beautiful mystery of all is thriving within my heart.
Fourteen-year-old David’s older sister Shauna takes him to a train track in the middle of an empty forest, urging him playfully to face his fear of trains. But David isn’t interested in her banter. He only wants her to deal with the truth she’s been avoiding for months. When David takes on Shauna’s ultimate dare, will they finally be able to cry together?
This place was so dead of sound, taking us captive into a terrifying dream, a nightmare I had so long dreaded. I imagined the sound of the train and shuddered, but my older sister pulled me down abruptly to sit on the edge of the train track, facing her.
“You’ve got to face your fears sometime, little bro,” she said, placing her foot right in the center of the track, right next to my two pairs of gray converse.
I tried not to flinch, putting my arms lightly on my knees and looking back at her, my face dead of emotion.
She smiled at me, brightly, as if sitting on train tracks was as natural as finding a flea in your cereal. “It’s not so bad, is it? Come on, there won’t be a train for hours, I checked the schedule and everything—just for you.”
I couldn’t stand up and leave, or she’d never forgive me for it. We had come to this empty forest to conquer my fears on a fun day trip, but I sensed there was more to it than that. She had fears of our own that she hadn’t faced for months.
“Mom is dead, Shauna,” I said in the same matter-of-fact tone I’d given her when Dad had died three years ago on my first day of sixth grade.
For a long, quiet moment she stared blankly at me, as if it were the first time she’d heard the news. Finally, she pinched her mouth into a frown. “I don’t want to talk about that. Please, Davie. I don’t want to.”
Her voice caused my heart to squeeze. She’d been calling me Davie ever since I could remember. Mom had called me that, too. Mom had raised us, cared for us, loved us more than I ever could begin to appreciate fully. How many times had I yelled at her or given her a blank face when all she wanted was a hug to tell her she was doing great at this ‘mom thing’?
Refusing to let the tears come out of me, I hardened my gaze. “Well, I don’t want to sit here,” I said, yet still sat there, facing her on that train track, facing my fears. I didn’t make eye contact with her.
“Just for a moment, look. Look at the trees and the sky and the fog touching the earth. It’s beautiful, isn’t?”
The train track led a path to nowhere, into the forest, where fog clouded the horizon. “We won’t see it coming—”
“—we’ll hear it, bro.” She leaned forward, smiling again, confounding me. How could she smile at a time like this? “We’ll hear it when it’s a mile off, don’t worry. You’ve got to be brave now, Davie. Remember when we used to play train ride? You always wanted to be the train conductor and I always had to be ‘coal girl’ who fueled up the train with coal. That was so mean of you.” She laughed. “Remember?”
“Yeah, of course I remember. It was all a stupid game.”
I grimaced, hating myself for my callousness, but at the same time annoyed at her for her rude intrusion into my pain. My grief. What about her own? Why is she trying to comfort me with fun day trips, when she herself is grieving just as I am, if not more than me?
“Come on, Davie, what’s the matter? Can’t we have just a little fun for once?”
“There’s no point in being here. I’m not afraid anymore.” But truthfully, I was alert to every bird’s call in the forest, every rustling in the trees. If I heard the train a mile off, I was ready to jump to my feet and drag Shauna out of the way. And I thought girls were supposed to be the more cautious ones.
Shauna grinned. “You sure about that? I dare you to walk along this track right in the center—for one, no, two minutes. Just a hundred and twenty seconds, and then we can leave. Promise me?”
Reluctantly, I rose to my feet and treaded forward along the center of the track, heading straight for the thick fog.
“Davie is so brave-y!” Clap. Clap. And on Shauna went as she strode alongside me, chanting in a high-pitched cheerleader voice.
When she finally stopped the annoying song, it had only been a minute. For a moment I breathed in the relieving silence as I plodded onward. Walking on the train track didn’t seem so scary anymore. And, much to my own surprise, I actually was feeling excited about this. Each step seemed to trample my fears.
But suddenly I realized why she’d stopped her song.
The train. The noise.
I kept walking. “Don’t worry, like you said, it’s a mile off,” I said, smiling for the first time today, yet not bothering to look at her. “Maybe we should do this more often.”
After all, we only have each other left, in this little family of ours. Maybe she has a point. Maybe we should play train ride together again. Or something.
“Davie! What are you doing?”
Shaken by the long-distance shout accompanied by the train’s loud signal, I turned to look behind me. While I had been focusing on each step in front of me, I had followed the train track onto the middle of a long, narrow bridge that crossed a river, leaving no room for Shauna to walk beside me without stepping onto the track.
The sound of the train was growing louder.
“It’s been more than two minutes, you can come back now!”
The terror in her voice unnerved me.
I kept walking. “Hold on, scared-y cat! I want to see what’s on the other side!”
I strode easily across the bridge, hoping to prove to Shauna that I was truly brave. The layer of fog over the river was heavy, but I didn’t mind anymore. I was elated at my discovery that my fears could be conquered. A sparrow in a tree across the bank winked at me, but then fluttered away in a panic, along with its whole family.
I kept walking.
Suddenly I heard a rush, rush sound of metal wheels on wooden tracks, and I froze, only feet away from where the bridge met the land.
God, help me! Help me move! Yet the danger excited me to the point I craved it. Maybe I wanted to die. Maybe I wanted to do anything but live in this awful world where both parents died in middle school and older sisters didn’t understand you.
In the midst of the fog, I heard her voice approaching me, sending a shock of horror through me. I turned around and ran toward her. “No, Shauna! Get off the track. Do you hear me? Get off the track!”
“Davie, you get off the track!” she roared at me, but her voice was gripped with panic.
The train’s signal blared in my ears.
I ran toward her, seeing her tall figure rushing toward me in the fog.
Just as I stepped off the bridge, we collided.
“Davie, I miss her.”
Feeling the rumbling of the approaching train under my feet, I flung myself off the track, so afraid for my life that I almost fled as far as I could away from that terrible place.
But my sister didn’t move, lying on the track, clinging to the metal rails.
“Shauna, no!” What is she thinking!?
“Davie, I miss her every breath I breathe, every time I wake up in the morning. Davie, I miss her and I want to die.”
I dragged her off the track just as the train screeched passed us, blowing dust in our mouths, blinding us from the tears we both knew were streaming down our faces.
When two quiet people come together, talking can be pretty tough. Today I want to share with you what I have learned about making conversations even in uncomfortable situations.
This is a frequent excuse I give myself after trying to have a conversation with someone. Maybe I don’t know what to say at present, but if I believed there was always something out there to say, perhaps it would be easier to have conversation rather than resort to confusion.
One time I was trying to talk to a girl and she, having understandable struggles with conversation, answered me with only a few words. It was hard because she didn’t seem to show much interest in talking with me, but I continually persisted in trying to talk with her.
I myself wrestle with shyness, and the devil often lies to me: No one cares about you. You’re not interesting enough because you barely talk. Leave them alone—why would they want to talk to you?
Thus, understanding her struggles, I wanted to prove to her that someone did care. I wanted to shine God’s light on her, since God cares about her just as much as my extraverted friends. Although it would have been easier if she responded to me with more elaboration, at the same time I don’t want to love people only when they seem to enjoy my company. I want to learn to love people unconditionally, as God loves us.
Years ago, my mom taught me a key rule of conversation: Ask questions. And this is exactly what I did when I attempted conversation with my fellow introverted friend. After all, most people are honestly way more interested in talking about themselves. Give them a chance to do just that, showing you care about their lives and you want to get to know them better.
I am far from an expert conversationalist. But because God has strengthened me with His love and a desire to reach out to people, this girl has opened up and revealed her true self to me, which reassures me that, yes, quiet people are complex and beautiful humans just like everyone else.
God has given me people to reach out to, and I don’t want to trade these opportunities for anything in the world.
Speaking of asking questions, what practical tips have you learned about making conversation? 🙂
This month is a time to give thanks, or time to remember to give thanks at all times.
I’m thankful for…
My parents – for truly caring for me and being my best friends.
My siblings – for letting me by my crazy self around them.
My friends – for being kind and encouraging to me on this journey of life.
Food, water, electricity – things I take advantage of, but are so beneficial for daily living.
My dog – for lying on my bed while I do school on the floor. XD But really, for being pretty much the most adorable animal ever.
My computer – for enduring my relentless documents of my random writings.
I could go on, but for time’s sake, I’ll end here.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving month, and remember our gracious Father you are giving thanks to!
(Photo by Lizelle De Wit on Unsplash)
An assignment in which I imagined myself meeting a famous person… since you were allowed to do fictional people, I chose Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
“Good evening, Elizabeth Bennet,” I said in the most proper British accent I could muster.
“I’ve heard a lot about you. My name is Grace. Grace, uh… Willington.”
I wasn’t sure if that was a British last name, but it was better than blurting out my modernized German one.
“It is a pleasure meeting you.” Elizabeth tilted her head. “And do call me Lizzy.”
I sensed under her kind eyes a sharp tinge of annoyance. Of course. Miss Bennet was not fond of formalities.
I grinned. “All right then. How are you enjoying the ball, Lizzy?”
“My enjoyment is relative. What of yours?”
Her sister Mary was playing skillfully on the piano-forte, the women wore the most beautiful dresses I’d ever laid eyes on, and luxurious silver chandeliers lit up the large ballroom, all the while men and women danced together in perfect formation.
“I’ve never been to one before. It’s… it’s wonderful.”
Only moments before a man had practically swept me off my feet and we’d swayed around the ballroom floor so fast I hardly could keep up with him, let alone perform the steps right. Thankfully, the English gentleman was extremely gracious and encouraging.
If only more modern boys knew a thing or two about 18th century chivalry.
I watched Elizabeth as she stood silently, gazing out at the dancing world before her. Across the room I noticed a tall, dark-haired man staring at her, but she didn’t seem to realize it. Of course, it was Mr. Darcy! I smiled to myself, marveling that I knew how this story would end.
“Miss Bennet—I mean, Lizzy—what do you think of that young man in the corner?”
Her face turned ash white. “Would you even—” she stopped herself, resolving to stay calm. “He’s a rich, bumbling fool, and everyone knows it.”
“Perhaps he’s good inside,” I prodded. Yet, understanding how the story unfolded, I knew she would hate him for a long time before falling in love with him.
Elizabeth shook her head. “A man is as good as he seems, Miss Willington. Men do not hide anything that a woman’s eye cannot penetrate.”
Presently, Mr. Darcy approached Elizabeth in his tall black suit and ruffled white shirt. They began chatting, Mr. Darcy speaking quietly yet with a dry sense of humor, and Elizabeth teasing him playfully, no doubt hoping he’d leave her alone and end any notions of asking her to dance with him.
When Mr. Darcy went on his way, she turned back to me and laughed. “I told you! He is an absolutely wicked and prideful man. I cannot see myself ever associating with him again.”
“Let alone marrying him?” I teased.
Elizabeth’s eyes sparkled. “Of all things, Miss Willington! You really have no manners, do you?”
I smiled. “There aren’t much of those where I come from.”
“Are you a barbarian?” she laughed.
But before I could answer, Jane approached Elizabeth in her violet muslin dress, excitement shining on her face as she embraced her sister. “You won’t believe it, my dear Lizzy! Mr. Bingley—I danced with Mr. Bingley!
“Oh, Jane!” Elizabeth giggled, squeezing her sister’s hand. “Tell me everything!”
“I was so flattered, Lizzy, when he asked me to the floor—he was so gallant and courteous. We had the most delightful conversation and he was so in step with the rhythm. And isn’t he handsome? Lizzy, don’t you think he is simply breathtaking?”
Elizabeth peeked at Mr. Bingley, who was making his rounds to all the ladies. “He certainly is, Jane. I do not doubt he’s coming our way, as politely as possible, to ask you once again.”
“Oh, I really mustn’t mount my hopes up,” Jane said breathlessly. “He’s polite to every lady in the room—but it does seem as if he shows special attention to me.”
“Don’t doubt his love for you,” I told Jane. “He only tries to please everyone, but in his heart… I’m sure he’s fallen head-over-heels in love with you.”
I was more sure than she knew.
“I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the phrase ‘head-over-heels’,” Jane said softly.
“Did you not know she’s a barbarian from a far-off land?” Elizabeth joked. “But, really, Miss Willington, where did you receive such outlandish English lessons?”
My face flushed. “I received the same education as everyone else.”
Elizabeth patted my hand gently. “I am only jesting with you. Forgive me if my behavior is out of place.”
Jane glared at her sister. “I’m afraid your behavior is very much out of place, Miss Bennet. You haven’t even introduced me to this fine friend of yours.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Oh, I nearly forgot! This is Grace Willington, and this, Miss Willington, is my—”
“—your sister,” I interrupted. “Your lovely sister Jane Bennet. Not to mention your other three sisters: Mary, who is playing the piano-forte, and Kitty and Lydia, who are off dancing somewhere.”
A dead silence fell about the girls as they stared at me. My heart beat rapidly, shame pouring heat into my cheeks. How was I ever to explain this to them?
“Have we met before?” Elizabeth finally asked, perplexed. “Or did you meet my sisters?”
“Well, you and your sisters have never met me, but I have met you all plenty of times.”
Through the crisp, yellow pages of a book I read last year… a book I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jane drew her sister toward her, whispering in her ear, “The poor girl is mad! We cannot trust her, Lizzy.”
But, presently, Mr. Bingley made his appearance, his strong height and kind features seeming to blow Jane off her feet.
“Would you give me the pleasure of these last few dances, Miss Bennet?” he asked her, tipping his top hat with gallantry.
“The pleasure is mine,” she said eagerly, taking Mr. Bingley’s hand as he guided her to the dance floor, beginning the slow dance to the music of the piano-forte. She glanced back at Lizzy, sheer delight glowing on her face, but her expression turned to confusion at the sight of me.
“I’m dreadfully sorry,” I said to Elizabeth, trying to speak with a more authentic British accent. “I didn’t mean to alarm your sister.”
Elizabeth looked at me, uncertain. “You assume I’m in love with Mr. Darcy, you imagine that Mr. Bingley is in love with my sister, you state the names of my beloved sisters without once meeting me or them before—who are you, Miss Willington? Have you indeed gone mad? Should I inquire of any relative or friend about your health?”
I lowered my eyes, wishing I had never said anything. Elizabeth was too smart and quick-witted, I knew, from reading from her point of view for a few hundred pages. I had learned from her mistakes in that book; I had learned to not judge one’s appearance, but at this point in the story she herself had not learned that.
“I’m not from your world. I’m—I’m from the future.”
Drawing me towards a corner of the room, Elizabeth’s eyes narrowed in concentration.
“Truthfully, I’d love to be anywhere but here, Miss Willington. Tell me about the future, please.”
Her lilting tone hinted that she was testing me. Her gaze penetrated me, seeming to bore a hole right through my British mask.
I stared pointedly back at her, striving not to let her make me feel ashamed of myself for supposedly being a girl gone mad. “In my world, there’s a growing number of gluttons, the balls are far from polite, and everyone looks at screens all day.”
Elizabeth Bennet raised her eyebrows. “Indeed! Well, Miss Willington, you have a peculiar habit of making people quite content with the way things are.”
I studied her carefully, aware that she was wearing a mask of her own, hiding the unsettled Lizzy I knew. “Well, my friend, you don’t have to lie to me. You truly aren’t so content, and things will only get worse for awhile. But it will turn out all right in the end—just watch and see. After all, Mr. Bingley and Jane were made for each other… and Mr. Darcy isn’t so bad off, you know.”
With that, I gave a short curtsy and disappeared before her eyes in that lovely 18th century ballroom. If it weren’t for Elizabeth’s rude behavior, I might have tried to stay forever. Last year in the pages of Pride and Prejudice, I’d longed to travel to a world of chivalrous young men and beautiful ball gowns. This year, I’d achieved my dream and gotten exactly what I expected… but maybe it was for the best I left it behind.