Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Letter To The Lisbon Girls (Fiction)

The following is a "letter" I penned as the father of the Lisbon girls in The Virgin Suicides as part of an English assignment I had earlier this week. I wrote this piece to convince these girls not to contemplate suicide as a means of dealing with distress, for their youngest sibling, Cecilia, killed herself by jumping out of her second story bedroom and onto a spiked fence. Other pertinent background information to keep in mind was that the setting of this book and subsequent movie is Detroit, Michigan in the early- to mid-1970s. The parents of the Lisbon girls were devout Catholics, and the mother was especially strict. It was my objective to remind these girls, as their father, that God would watch over and safeguard them from harm's way. Enjoy, dear reader.

"Dear daughters,

Your mother and I are very worried about your well-being. We're concerned that Cecilia's suicide has caused you to think twice about whether or not life is worth living. I, personally, find it real difficult to talk about something as serious as suicide, so I've taken it upon myself to put my thoughts in writing. Your mother is doing the same thing, too. But believe me when I say to you that life is a precious gift, and that you should be blessed for every second you're given. The problem, of course, is in taking it upon your self to determine how many seconds become unbearable. Your mother and I have had sleepless nights trying to cope with this devastating loss. We have every reason to believe that Cecilia ultimately succumbed to some personal demons that led her to impale herself on that godforsaken fence. We raised you girls to be pious Catholic ladies. You don’t need me to remind you that Catholicism frowns upon suicide as a means of coping with life's challenges. That's about as selfish a decision that any one person can make in life. No amount of rosary beads or Hail Mary's can ever save the suicidal soul from eternal damnation, but I digress.

Back when I grew up in a time defined by conformity and segregation, life was much simpler. I was a kid, believe it or not. The only things I worried about were obeying God and obeying authority. Everything else took care of itself. To your credit, you didn't have much of a choice growing up in a sex-crazed, drug-addicted, rock-and-roll society. The times have changed, but not the Catholic standards by which we raised you girls in. Now I know what you're thinking here: why is the church relevant to this discussion? I think the better question is, when isn't the church relevant? You see, girls, everyone has a purpose in life, and that ultimate purpose is to glorify God. True JOY comes in serving Jesus first, others second, and yourself last. When you start jumbling these priorities around, that's when life becomes a hassle. Again, to your credit, I have no idea what it's like to be a teenaged girl, so I cut you a little slack about the struggles of female adolescence. But remember that boys only want one thing from you, and it's not to know your astrological sign. Flee from the sins of the flesh, and never judge your self-esteem on what some boy from school thinks of you. They'll eventually break your heart and leave you wanting that relationship never happened.

I say this to tell you the world is a cruel place that's looking to crush you in its grip. Don't conform to its standards, for the ways of the world are antithetical to what we've taught you girls all your lives. Whatever the popular crowd tells you to do, don't. Most likely, they're a bunch of unrepentant sinners who have already sealed their fate by openly defying what decency still exists. You girls are better than that. Be especially careful of those who say that rules are meant to be broken. Rules are in place not to spoil your fun, but to protect you from harm. And whatever you do, do not be captivated by the slithering tongues of men who preach an unholy doctrine. John Lennon, nor Robert Plant, nor Mick Jagger can save you. The only true stairway to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. Jeremiah once wrote that God has a plan to give you a bright, prosperous future. Don't throw it away.

I know I'm not the most vocal person in the world and I do spend quite a bit of my time watching the Tigers play on television, but never forget that I'm here for you. Therese, Mary, Bonnie, and Lux, you girls mean the world to me, and I never want to see you go before I do. Whether you need help in trigonometry or decoding what the opposite sex is thinking, please, don't hesitate about talking to me about these things. Al Kaline can wait. In the end, only family is forever in this world. Your mother and I are proud of all that you do.

Love always,

No comments:

Post a Comment