An old newsletter article, written in September, 2001 (I don’t remember if it was before or after that month’s tumultuous events). Recopying from the original rough draft (I didn’t keep a final) in one of my journals:
Once upon a time on the western plains lived a man with his three daughters. Julietta was the oldest, Christina the middle, and Isabella the youngest. They lived a busy life on the plains – tending to animals, raising crops. And, though there were no schools on the frontier, their father wished that they all be educated.
So it was that as they grew up their father would take one of the sisters aside for a few hours each day, in order to teach them while the other two continued working. He would teach the same basic lessons, though he would use a different approach for each girl.
Consequently, as the girls grew each remembered their lessons a little differently. They all learned, through his patient tutelage of each, that their father loved and valued each one greatly.
Julietta learned, from her father’s example, the importance of working hard to support those she loved. He would rise early to do his chores, spend time teaching one of them, and then finish his share in the evening. She learned to express her love through being an obedient and dutiful daughter.
Christina’s greatest lesson was also not in the books her father taught her to read, but in his love. She learned that his love for his daughters was great. On days he taught one, he would always inquire of the other two at dinner how their chores had gone, if they needed more help… She learned that her father loved her, even when she wasn’t as strong or able as one of her sisters.
Isabella also excelled at her lessons, but learned more from her father’s love as well. She would remember the balance her father kept, and expected, of each of them – how they were to work hard at chores and also at their lessons. Isabella’s greatest lesson was of his expectation that in her love for him she would work hard.
Today the three sisters extended families still learn of their father, each remembering his lessons a little differently, but all remembering and knowing how much he loved each daughter. Though the families of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam may sometimes not see past their differences, their Father loves them all equally.