Friday, June 3, 2011

Blind Love - 1 Corinthians 13

    Just before she died in 1964, Flannery O’Connor wrote a brilliant short story called, “Revelation.”  O’Connor seemed to like symbolic names.  The lead character Mrs. Turpin - bringing to mind Turpentine, that cleaning chemical which is poisonous and stinky, and the other key character is an “ugly girl” named Mary Grace, who doesn’t like Mrs. Turpin and keeps giving her mean looking stares.  In an ironic way Mary Grace represents the disruptive grace of God. 

The Doctor’s waiting room, which was very small, was almost full when the Turpins entered and Mrs. Turpin, who was very large, made it look even smaller by her presence.  She stood looming at the head of the magazine table set in the center of it, a living demonstration that the room was inadequate and ridiculous.  Her little bright black eyes took in all the patients as she sized up the seating situation.  There was one vacant chair and a place on the sofa occupied by a blond child in a dirty blue romper who should have been told to move over and make room for the lady.  He was five or six, but Mrs. Turpin saw at once that no one was going to tell him to move over.  He was slumped down in the seat ... his nose ran unchecked. ... if that child belonged to me, he would have some manners and move over-there's plenty of room there for you and him too. ...
Next to her was a fat girl of eighteen or nineteen, scowling into a thick blue book which Mrs. Turpin saw was entitled Human Development. The girl raised her head and directed her scowl at Mrs. Turpin as if she did not like her looks. She appeared annoyed that anyone should speak while she tried to read. The poor girl's face was blue with acne and Mrs. Turpin thought how pitiful it was to have a face like that at that age. She gave the girl a friendly smile, but the girl only scowled the harder. Mrs. Turpin herself was fat, but she had always had good skin, and, though she was forty-seven years old, there was not a wrinkle in her face - except around her eyes from laughing too much.
Next to the ugly girl was the child, still in exactly the same position, and next to him was a thin leathery old woman in a cotton print dress. She and Claud had three sacks of chicken feed in their pump house that was in the same print. She had seen from the first that the child belonged with the old woman. She could tell by the way they sat- kind of vacant and white-trashy, as if they would sit there until Doomsday if nobody called and told them to get up. And at right angles but next to the well-dressed pleasant lady was a lank-faced woman who was certainly the child's mother. She had on a yellow sweatshirt and wine-colored slacks, both gritty-looking, and the rims of her lips were stained with snuff. Her dirty yellow hair was tied behind with a little piece of red paper ribbon. Worse than [black folk] any day, Mrs. Turpin thought.
The gospel hymn playing [on the radio] was "When I looked up and He looked down," and Mrs. Turpin, who knew it, supplied the last line mentally, "And wona these days I know I'll we-eara crown.  ...

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