When I was a college senior, pregnant, unwed, barely a month off crystal meth, I joked with the Ogre that I might as well just sew a red A on my chest. I said that while we parked, the first day of that first semester back, and I laughed manically and thought I might hyperventilate. I was terrified. It took all the courage I had, and a hefty dose of stubborn pride besides, to step out of the car and walk onto campus. I had grown up in the Bible Belt, you see, and I knew how girls like me were treated.
But I was loved on that campus and not condemned. I was forgiven without asking. I was supported and encouraged, and never shamed. I was the adulteress, and Mary Magdalen, and the woman at the well, and all those Catholics stood around me but not one stooped to pick up a stone. They were Christ, and eventually they got around to telling me to sin no more, but first they showed me how. Catholic means universal, you know. It’s for everyone. Even unwed mothers, and meth addicts, and stupid college kids. Even sinners. Especially sinners. Like me.