Sister Mary is a happy nun in the order of the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope. By day she is content with devotion and prayers. But late at night, she sneaks down the Abby stairs.
There in a dark and dank corner of the basement is a musty cement gray room with a tall ceiling. There is a small wooden chair and cabinet in the corner of the room. Inside the cabinet is Sister Mary’s nerve tonic. She sits in a straight back wooden chair, unscrews the lid and enjoys a sip to bring closure to the day. There is a peace and warmth that comes over her. She closes her eyes and lets her imagination take her places she may never see. In the basement’s quiet other voices are heard. Voices to soft to be understood in the light of day. She recognizes them. They are the voices of friends and family. She hears them. She sees them. Another sip of the tonic brings them into sharper focus. And there, in the light of a single bulb, she talks to them of her new life and her devotion. She shares her struggles and confesses her weaknesses and waits for absolution. She can’t stay long. A couple sips is all she needs to restore her to a state of equilibrium.
And when she is finished the bulb is extinguished and the doorway to her world of color and sound is locked. The key is safely tucked away in her long dark robe. She walks toward the stairway. The hallway echoes the clicking of her solid black shoes on the stone floor. She climbs the steps back into solitude with a heart bursting with the wonders of God and the miracle of man, whom God made in his image. Religion is everywhere for Sister Mary. She sees God in all his creations.
She passes the Chapel and stops to bow toward the alter. She continues to her bedroom. Prayers will send her to sleep and then the sun will rise again and fill the world with warmth and color.