painting by D L Gardner
At one time Ann had been a carefree young teen in love with life. Her best friend and only relative was her sister, Amy. The two had been orphaned while very young and grew up in a convent, raised by nuns. Ann’s ambition in life was to be a nurse.
“And why would you want to help the sick when it’s so dangerous?” Her sister Amy asked. “You’re bound to catch the same disease those people have.”
Amy was younger than Ann, a tom boy whose dream was to sail the open seas, working like the men did. Ann thought maybe her sister missed having a father and that’s why her passion was to do a man’s work. Often times Amy dressed as a boy and would take odd jobs on the Falcon Crest, Alisubbos’ scouting ship.Today Amy sat on the docks wrapping line in preparation for the next adventure. The captain finally gave her permission to go on a voyage.
“Tending to the sick is not nearly as dangerous as sailing.” Ann tried to convince Amy to forget this wild dream of hers, knowing her sister would never give in.
“No. Not nearly, but sailing is much more adventurous. Besides, will you meet your husband in the hospital?” Amy gave Ann a knowing wink as they gazed at the main mast and the sailors that balanced the ratline, repairing the sheets.
“Even if you find a husband on board your sailing ship, your life will always be about the sea.”
“Fine with me. And you. Where will yours be?”
Ann shrugged. She wasn’t looking for a husband. Her heart was in the work itself, in seeing ill people rise from their beds healthy and whole.
Amy left later that week and Ann stood on the shore to wave goodbye. The wind lifted the sails and blew her sister, the handsome crew, and the majestic ship away from the port of Alisubbo, past the isle of refuge, and along the shores of Taikus. A warm breeze stirred up whitecaps and orange and pinks of the day glistened on the water. The Falcon Crest had been charted to return within the month. But several storms passed through, and once Ann saw flashes on the horizon. Rumors spread that Taikus had declared war with the Northern lands but no one knew for sure. If the ruler of Taikus went to battle, her ships would be patrolling the waters.
Ann never saw her sister again. She waited until hope gave way to longing, and longing to sadness. Ann concentrated on her work more than ever, spending longer hours with the patients, giving up of her own sleep to care for those who coughed all night.
If it hadn’t been for Sister Bernadice, Ann might have lived the rest of her life brooding for the loss of her only kin. But the kind and loving Sister convinced Ann that there was more to life than work, and more to family than flesh and blood. She helped her to see love again.
One sunny morning, Ann woke up to a brilliant sunrise. She walked to the beach where she had waited so often for her sister to return, and looked out over the sea. There she watched the sun stretch it’s golden hands across the horizon as if embracing her.
Ann made a decision that morning to embrace the world back. That was the day she chose to stop mourning for something that would never be again, and to dedicate her life to restore others. That was the dawn that Sister Ann had been waiting for.