Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“Use your mind and this new ability to outsmart the evil memories which have been placed inside of you.”
“Sister, I keep hearing a voice inside me. Could it be evil?” “Tell me about it, but keep your eyes closed when you do.”
“Last night I snuck out of the house and went to Little Frankie’s birthday party. The voice said I should go back home because it wasn’t right to sneak out,” I said. “Oh, that voice. That’s your conscience. It suggests what would be right and what would be wrong. All you need to do is follow the advice of your inner voice and all will be right.”
“But, Sister, that’s what I did with Larry, and look what happened.”
“you were too young and too needy to be able to see Larry for what he was. He knew exactly how to distract someone your age. The important thing is, what are you going to do with that experience? It could go either way, you know. you could become bitter and distrustful, or you could ask God’s help in turning this awful thing that happened into a growth experience, almost a gift.” She looked at me very intently. My eyes filled with tears and one spilled over and rolled down my cheek.
“That’s what Angel—the voice—said…kinda…I think…” “Jimmy, much evil has been done to you, but many blessings also have been given to help you rise above the evil. As a result, much is expected from Jimmy Heaney.” She pointed to number seven on the paper: Find someone to help in all situations.
“It’s time to make your promise.”
“Sister, I can’t!” I cried. “It’s too hard. There are too many problems, and no one cares about anybody else or your stupid list.” She ignored the “stupid” part.
“you can care,” she said. “you can help…” “I gotta go, Sister. This has been nice and I’m sorry but I can’t make your promise…I…”
“Jimmy, I have something to tell you. I really don’t know how to say this, but I might be transferred to another school. If that’s so, I’d leave next month,” she said.
“Next month! you’re my friend! you can’t leave.”
“I know it’s hard for you and it would break my heart, too, but there is another school that might need me. Anyway, we won’t find out until the middle of August, so run along home now. And enjoy yourself at the beach tomorrow.”
“Sister, I won’t go to the beach. I want to come over and help you.”
“Not tomorrow. I’m busy all day. But Tuesday’s okay, like we planned.”
“But Sister, I…” “Go home. Now! I’ll see you Tuesday.” I walked out of the yard, stunned. Sisters came and went and I’d never thought anything about it, but I couldn’t imagine St. Ailbe’s without Sister John. When I arrived at the our rear gate, I reached for the paper in my shirt pocket and it wasn’t there. I turned and ran back to the convent. Faster, Jimmy, faster, I thought…Run, Jimmy, run! I came around the turn to her house and screamed,
“I promise, Sister. I promise, Sister. Please don’t leave me.” She stood by the garden, she stood facing my scream, waiting for me, holding the list in her hands.
“I promise, Sister. I promise!” I huffed as I ran tearfully into her outstretched arms.
“Cry, Jimmy, cry. It’s okay now. you’re safe.” After I calmed down, she asked gently,
“What are you promising?” I reached out for the paper and pointed to number seven. She had changed the wording a little in the few minutes I had been gone.
“I promise to find someone to help in all situations!” Now I had made the promise.
“Good, that’s behind us,” she said, in a very matter-of-fact tone. “Sister, are you really leaving for another school?”
“Maybe now I won’t have to.”
“you tricked me into making that promise!” “Let’s just say I called on an alternate power of persuasion, all right?” She smiled warmly and squeezed my shoulders. “Jimmy, do you know why the promise was so important for you to make?”
“Maybe if I concentrate on helping others, somehow that will help me?” I asked. She nodded. “But how?”
“For starters, if you’re looking for someone to help instead of looking for food in the kitchen, you’ll start to lose the weight you’ve gained.” I felt my neck and face turn hot.
“And on the spiritual side, your soul will grow if you put the needs of others first.” Then, as if she were reading my mind, she said,
“And I know you were thinking of me first when you arranged for me to gar- den. But helping someone doesn’t count if you hurt someone else while you’re doing it. you have good instincts, Jimmy. We just need to polish them up a bit.”
With that we went inside for a treat to reward my hard work. Given the comment about my added weight, I wasn’t surprised that she chose a healthy snack.

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