callistahogan: (Default)
I've never been what one would consider a reprobate.

In fact, I pride myself on walking the straight and narrow, keeping my head up high, fists at my side, eyes straight ahead. I have goals that I would do anything to achieve, and every step I take leads me closer to those goals. I don't make trouble, instead withdrawing into the background and being the perfect little student that never does anything wrong. My father probably doesn't know what to do with me, because I am by far the quietest and most well-behaved child in our family. I (very rarely) throw fits; I am world-conscious. By everyone, I am considered the perfect Christian daughter.

And indeed, I am. It's something I consider myself to be as well.

I am in sharp contrast with my oldest sister, Rhiannon*. She was born probably in what could be considered the golden age of my parents' marriage, before my mother got sick, before the rest of us came along, before everything just imploded in on itself when I was in fourth or fifth grade. Shortly after she was born, however, was when my mother got sick. I suppose, thinking back on it now, that is how things went wrong, because Rhiannon had to grow up in a situation that was anything but stable, when my mother got incredibly sick.

I don't remember what my sister was like when I was young, because by the time I was old enough to have memories of her, I hardly ever saw her. She was sixteen when I was around two or three. She was like so many of those teens I see now, who hang out with the so-called "wrong crowd," drinking and smoking, hanging out with someone more than twice her age. She started to date someone who was about thirty to her sixteen -- and she ran away when I was around three or four.

The only time I remember seeing her before she got pregnant was when she and her boyfriend took me to Funtown in Saco, Maine. I was probably three at the time, and all I remember of that time was me going down the enclosed black water slide and being terrified out of my mind, along with going back to their apartment and eating Burger King.

That is the last time I remember seeing her for all of my early life, except for one fuzzy moment at Christmas, when she came with her daughter, who was one and a half at the time. There were some web cam conversations, but never anything more than that.

She is the reprobate of our family, or at least that's what she can be considered. Although she ended up telling my other sister about Christ, I've never seen her act quite like a Christian. She is the black sheep, separated from the rest of our family. We all love her, but she doesn't quite... fit in.

She had two children out of wedlock, with a man who was about double her age. She is not completely deserving of the term "reprobate", but in terms of my family -- my conservative Christian family, with their strong moral standards -- she deserves reprobation. She goes in different circles from the rest of us, constantly getting into bad relationships, hanging out with "the wrong crowd," dubbed so by my parents and brother.

None of us are sure what she's doing nowadays.

She is a tattoo artist living in New Hampshire, but that's all we know. We know little to nothing about her life. For all we know, she could be a reprobate in the true definition of the term, rather than a reprobate in terms of being less morally "upright" than the rest of my family is.

We just don't know.

The difference between me and Rhiannon is striking. While Rhiannon seems not to have a plan, I have a whole ten-year plan all figured out. Get through the next two and a half years of college, get into one of those liberal arts colleges, get an English degree, and start teaching. Get married eventually, maybe have a kid. My sister, however, is completely different. She never got her high school diploma, had two kids before I was ten, and her only discernible ambition was to become a tattoo artist.

But her path is not wrong. Just different. I do wish she would come to church with us, get in touch more, but there's nothing I can do. The last time I saw her was this past summer, and that was only for a weekend. I saw a glimpse into her life, and she walks with those people my family (and my church) would consider reprobates.

She is not herself a "true" reprobate, though, and for that I am grateful.

--

* Name changed, as always to protect the innocent.

This has been my entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. Not sure about this one; I'm not in the habit of writing, I guess!
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callistahogan

March 2010

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