Once Was Lost
"...Dad must know that the gossip could wind up worse than the
truth if he doesn't tell them. And for a moment his mouth opens and
his shoulders tense up and I know he's about to confess. That we're
not perfect, that he's not perfect, that our family has problems, too,
and we've covered it up for too long and that's not right when the
church is supposed to be your second family.
The moment passes and he's lifting his hands to give the
We tend to have two stereotypes for preacher's kids: the goodie-
two-shoes offspring that take all parental dictates and beliefs as
lugged down from the mountains on tablets of stone and the Hell raiser
rebels headed toward eternal damnation, possibly by way of cops and
courts. We tend to forget it's a lot more complicated than that.
When family life, under the pressure cooker of high expectations, goes
off course, any family member coming of age can be in for quite the
challenge. That's the message spelled out quite eloquently in Sara
Zar's Once Was Lost.
As the story begins Sam (15) feels that everything in her home
is falling apart: the television one day, a ceiling fan the next.
Bills need to be paid. Meals come out of the microwave and cans. Oh
yeah, and her mother is in rehab following an accident and a DUI
Her minister father always promises to sit down with her and
iron things out. But somehow he never gets around to it any more than
he gets around to telling the congregation where his wife is.
Then the church is hit with a potential tragedy. A youth group
member disappears--probably kidnapped. Suddenly Sam's father is
practically living with the bereft family: helping them hang on and
being their media spokesperson. He thinks Sam should stay with her
best friend's family til the ordeal is over...which goes to show how
little he knows about her.
And isn't Erin, the youth pastor, getting too intimate with her
dad? Is she maybe setting her sights on becoming a pastor's wife?
Will her family ever be whole and happy again?
This poignant coming of age narrative is very much worth reading.
On a personal note, right before the end of the semester Dean Robert
Q. Dana gave an ice cream social that was the total cat's pajamas.
A great big shout out goes out to Dean Robert Q. Dana and his most
excellent team of colleagues.
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