Today's Reading

September 6

Jacob was a great help today. His hands are still so young, but he strengthens. He is growing, up to my shoulders now. More important, his mind is sharp. He takes to the craft so swiftly, so easily. The chest of drawers for Mike will be done, and even sooner and better than if only my own hands had done it. Only five more pieces. A blessing, indeed, is a son who honors his father with the labor of his hands.

Hannah tells me it was not so good with Sadie today, not good at all. She did not sleep last night, that I know. And she was so distressed today, Hannah says. There were no seizures, but she is so unhappy.

She broods, and will only sleep, or talk in strange circles, as she has since it got worse.

But now it is only one thing she can seem to think about. She talks about the lights, and about the darkness. The skies are bright with angel wings, she will shout, suddenly. The English fall! The English fall! Again and again she says this. The skies filled with angel wings, about the English, and about the fall. We give her the
medicine, and it quiets her, but the quiet passes more quickly.

I confess I am troubled, and I am praying much over it.

Sadie was always different. Before the doctors told us there was something wrong, before the seizures, she was different. She was born with a caul, which means nothing. I have seen calves born with cauls, and there is no magic I can see in them. They get eaten, just like all of the other calves. Their jerky tastes no different from regular jerky. But sometimes the old women still talk, Hannah tells me.

The angel's touch, some said she had. And the folk still remember what she said about Bishop Beiler, before even the first signs of the cancer. And about the Hostetler girl. And about that calf. It was strange, and Bishop Schrock had many talks with me about the whisperings that should not be part of the Order.

"There is no Christ in this," he said. "This seems the Devil's work," he said.

I nodded, but told him she was a good girl, because she was, even if she did say strange things. I felt anger, too, for Bishop Schrock can be a hard man. Of the bishops in this district, his heart turns most quickly to discipline. But prayer and more prayer returned my heart to the grace of Christ.

And now she moans in the night, and I hear her whisper. Every night, every night for a month, as I read back.

And every night, it is the same thing.

The angel wings, and the sky, and the English. And the fall.

Though she is my little girl, barely more than a child, the hairs rise on my arms as I write this. It is just a sickness, I say to my soul. Just a sickness of the mind.

But I do not believe myself when I say it. I cannot but worry that something bad will happen.

September 7

Worship was good today, but it was very hard for Sadie. In the singing, she is fine, but the first sermon she struggles, and the main sermon is difficult for her to manage, and the long silence as we pray together is very very hard. It strains her. And as hard as it is for Sadie, it's harder for Hannah. She watches her. She
worries. Even when Sadie seems calm, she worries. The medicine stilled her enough for the day, but things got worse after the sun set.

Tonight Sadie hurt Hannah, but she does not want me to tell the doctor or the deacons. Sadie's arm lashed out as she cried and shouted and flailed. She bloodied Hannah's nose and bruised her eye. She did not mean to, I know she did not. It was like she did not notice her mother was even there.

I had to hold her, and hold her, until the medicine and the strength of my arms stilled her. So thin and frail she is now. I feared bruising her, but I was afraid she would hurt herself even worse.

It was hard on Hannah, good mother that she is. I don't want them to take her away, cried Hannah. I cannot lose my baby, cried Hannah.
She remembers how David, the second of the Sorensons' children, became. So angry, so hateful. They tried to care for him, and prayed, but though he had chosen to return, his soul was broken and shattered. It was like keeping a wild dog in the house, and they had to think of their other children. Just twenty-one. Such a young man. The English call it skitzofrenia, I think that is the word, I am not sure.

I mean, I know that is how you say it, but I also know that I am spelling it wrong. I will look in the dictionary later.

Jacob will be our last. Just Jacob and Sadie, both blessings in their own ways.

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