This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Mara Faro’s book, “The Grace Crasher.” It is a CWG Seal of Approval winner! “She’s lost her faith. He’s not her type. This could take a miracle.”
Armed with a Jesus fish that might be swimming in the wrong direction, Julia must pretend to be “born again” for her Christian housemates—cute EMT Mark and his church-lady mom. It’s the only affordable place within walking distance (cough, stalking distance) of Dylan, her latest musician crush.
When Mark finds out the truth—her drunk dad ruined her trust in God—he protects her secret and brings her to his Evangelical church. Hiding her Catholic past, she bumbles her way through hand-raising worship with sin-shredding paper shredders. Other times she sneaks into Mass, but she’s always standing when she should be kneeling. Meanwhile, Mark explains how to be “saved.” But does he just want to save her? Or date her?
Then Dylan sings her a song at open mic. Suddenly she’s torn between Mark and Dylan, flubbing her way through two different churches, and caught between truth and lies. Will it all crash down around her, or will she crash straight into grace?
“Don’t worry about my mom,” [Mark said.] She seems to believe you’re really born again. But I wish it would happen for real.” He walked to the curb and leaned against my car. “I’m paraphrasing, but C.S. Lewis said something like, what we pretend to be we eventually become.”
“I’m not doing such a good job of pretending, let alone becoming.”
He took a small piece of paper out of his pocket. “I’m a terrible artist, but can I draw you a picture? Maybe I’ve been too wordy about the gospel. Maybe you’re more of a visual learner.”
“What does that mean?” I clomped up and down the sidewalk, swinging my arms like an ape. “Me Julia. Me no like words. Words too hard. Me need pictures.” People glanced at me from the passing cars.
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I know, sorry.” My rudeness toward him was probably just what [his mom] wanted. I reached into my purse and handed him a pen. “Okay, draw me the picture.”
We sat next to each other on the curb. Resting the paper on his knee, he drew a stick figure on a cliff, squiggles of water, and a second cliff on the other side. “This stick figure represents Man.”
“Why not a woman?”
“Okay. This is a woman. Let’s call her Julia.” He added a triangle skirt and long curly hair to the stick figure.
I smiled. “Thanks for making me skinny in the picture.”
“Before we’re saved, we’re separated from God by sin. But Jesus is the bridge to eternal life.” He drew a cross connecting the two cliffs. “To get to the other side, you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior.”
I rested my chin in my hand. “Your stick figure has an abnormally large head. And if she’s separated from God, why does she have a smiley face?”
Mark laughed and tossed down the pen. “I don’t know. That’s just how I always draw my stick figures. You’re not taking this very seriously.”
He handed me the paper, but I held it too loosely. The little white square blew into the wind created by passing cars. It tumbled through the air and landed on the back of a speeding pick-up truck. “Uh-oh,” I said. “Sorry.”
“There goes my best stick figure ever.”
I glanced over my shoulder at the house. [His mom] was watching us from between the lace curtains. She stepped back and closed them again. I stood up. “Are you sure your mom’s not suspicious of me?”
Mark stood next to me and rubbed his jaw. He touched the [EMT] pager on his belt, even though it wasn’t beeping. “I don’t know….She’s never directly asked about you. But sometimes the way she looks at you—it’s like she’s trying to figure something out, but she doesn’t know what.”
Mara Faro worked as an advertising copywriter and proofreader before becoming an author. The Grace Crasher was inspired by her years of dating confusion and spiritual seeking. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild, she is now happily married and writing a new novel. You can find her at marafaro.com.
She’s lost her faith, he’s not her type—this could take a miracle. “The Grace Crasher,” romantic comedy drama. http://a.co/hUFy4D1