And they all lived happily ever after.
I can see why fairy tale writers liked to finish things off that way. Queen Abigail the Wise is my first effort as a writer, and I would love to pronounce that the rest of everyone’s life just breezed on to the finish line after the last word in the book.
But how likely is that, really? As I said last time, all of Queen Abigail is really just the story of how one girl “woke up” to the Living God, to Christ present in every moment. That is really the very heart of any Christianity that is alive, intelligent and active. There are many of us — young and old, “cradle” Christians and converts — who are going along in a kind of sleep-walk. We talk about God all the time — we talk and sing and hear about Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But do we believe that the Trinity is active and present in every moment — not 2000 years ago or at the Second Coming, but now?
A little splash and many ripples
Queen Abigail is what happens when one person wakes up. Generally, that person will wake up other people around them. Abigail was 10 going on 11, and it could be accurately said that she was a little immature for her age. So her efforts were a little clumsy, to say the least. But she had the pure heart of a child, and her intentions to be helpful came from a place of unselfishness. Consequently, the splash she made caused good ripples for other people.
This is one of the things that grown-up readers might have noticed more than young ones. Consider the changes that Abigail’s adventures had on:
- her parents, especially her mother, who was starting to settle into a rut of carping endlessly at little Abigail.
- Fr. Andrew. He got to see some of the ripples that he had started with homilies and pastoral instruction; it seems that sometimes priests have no idea how much they affect us. And besides seeing the faith lived out by a few girls in his parish, he got a reason to clean off his paints and brushes. From Abigail’s observations about the skill of the “iconography student” who marked up Fr. Andrew’s book, he seems to have quite a talent for it.
- the four other girls in the Every Tuesday Club. Naturally, all their problems didn’t go away — that’s not something we can do for each other. And it may be that “their biggest problem” will come back around in some way. But at least for a time, they voiced their need to others and got relief; that can be such a blessing when it happens.
- the five families. There’s a reason they all hug just before Pascha. They have all seen something that doesn’t come along very often, and it draws them all closer.
- St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church. I threw in a sentence near the end that might not have meant very much to young readers. When the five girls walk holding hands during the Paschal procession, it is a sight that means something to a lot of people in that church. Their simple harmony sends a message of hope to a parish that had been struggling and bickering. The fact is, churches have their good times and bad times. Sometimes there are issues, big and small, that test the bonds of love and fellowship. It may sound silly to say that five little girls walking together could help with that, but I think it’s exactly the sort of thing that does.
So how will that work out?
Well, all of that is very big-picture. This idea of ripples is the reason why I was certain before I got very far into Queen Abigail that it was going to be a series of books. Having gotten to know Vanessa and Xenia and the rest, I’m too curious now. What will they make out of Abigail’s experience? Will they “wake up,” and if so, what will that look like?
That is what the next in the Every Tuesday Girls Club series will be about. I’m writing it as we speak — well, not exactly as we speak, but you understand — and I know this will be the book for one of the other girls in the Club. I may come out with some story over the summer — not sure about that yet — but if not, I’m hoping I can have the next book in the series ready before Christmas this year.
But stay tuned in the meantime. I’m mulling over one or two stories I may come out with before then. And I can think of some other directions I may want to go. At any rate, I’m certainly going to look into other little merchandise opportunities I can make use of, if I can find things that are cute enough to be up to Abigail’s standards and mine.
So anyway, thanks for reading through Queen Abigail over Lent with me. Blessed Pascha to all, and we’ll see you whenever I figure out what the Every Tuesday Girls Club is going to do next.