Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lucy Aloisie Franta Dolezal

I recently completed an assignment for a graduate class that asked me to write a character sketch inspired by a picture or artifact.  I used my grandmother's baptismal certificate for my inspiration.  (You can read all about that here) My character sketch ended up being more of a love story based on lots of speculation.  Here it is:


Lucy Dolezal holds her tiny baby niece securely in her arms.  She listens intently as Father Vaclav recites the words that will welcome Emily Franta into the Catholic Church.  Emily is gazing into her eyes, as if searching for something.  Guidance?  Yes, that is Lucy’s job as her godmother—to provide spiritual guidance as Emily travels through life.  Safety?  Something in Emily’s round, innocent eyes tugs at Lucy’s heart, making her want to protect this baby always.  Love?  She and her brother James have always been so close, sharing much as they grew up on the farm with their mom and dad and their five brothers and sisters.  Now James has asked her to be his daughter’s godmother, an honor that brought her to tears.  Yes, love.  She will cherish Emily as if she were her own.

Glancing up from the baby, Lucy catches her new husband’s gaze.  Anton, her groom of two months, stands on the other side of James and Lizzie, joining her on Emily’s spiritual journey as her godfather.  She sees the love in his eyes as he looks from her to Emily and back to her again.  They have so many dreams for their new life as Mr. and Mrs. Dolezal (when will she get used to being Lucy Dolezal not Lucy Franta??)  They dream of owning a farm, building a home, and of course becoming parents.  Anton, so strong and brave, dreams of his children being born in America and having a lifetime of opportunity.  He was born in Czechoslovakia and came to America with his brother as a young man.  Lucy sees them work hard to start new lives here, and it breaks her heart to think of all they left behind.  Lucy’s own parents left their families behind in Czechoslovakia to chase the same dream, and she has heard their stories of loneliness and fear, but they were always, always laced with hope. She and Anton will raise their American-born children with faith and love.  They will have so many more opportunities than she and Anton had.

A small cry brings Lucy’s eyes back to the baby in her arms.  Emily somehow senses that Lucy’s thoughts are far away, and her cry makes Lucy smile.  Yes Emily, I am here, my goddaughter.  Just in time, too, as Father Vaclav nears the end of the service.  He is addressing her now.  “Is it your will that Emily should be baptized in the faith of the Catholic Church, which we have all professed with you?"

Not taking her eyes off Emily, Lucy, along with Anton, vehemently responds, “It is.”

Lizzy takes her daughter from Lucy’s arms as she readies her for the splash of holy water that will cleanse Emily of original sin.  Lucy’s eyes stay glued to Emily.  Her arms feel so empty now, but her heart is full as she witnesses Emily’s first sacrament.  She prays for Emily’s health and happiness and that she will witness many more milestones on Emily’s journey.  She prays that Emily will be strong and loving like all her Franta ancestors.  She prays that she will fall in love with a good man and find joy in her own children and grandchildren.  She prays that she will always lead a holy life and feel God’s comfort and grace.  And mostly, she prays that Emily will always feel loved.

Father Valcec pours water over Emily’s head.  “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  You are God’s work of Art.

Emily doesn’t cry.  She smiles as if she understands.  Tears well up in Lucy’s eyes.

Yes, Emily Franta, you are.

Dedicated with so much love to my Grandmother Emily Jambor.  
And to Lucy Dolezal :)