If you search the Internet for the term Cycle of Abuse, you’ll find over 13 million entries. (yes, I said 13 MILLION) The term as social theory was apparently legitimized in 1979; it even has its very own Wikipedia page. Cycle of Violence is similar, with identifiable phases and yet another dedicated page in Wikipedia. (Not that Wikipedia is any kind of arbiter of validation…I’m just sayin’) But if you look for Cycle of Faithfulness, things pop up like the geyser “Old Faithful” & a completely incomprehensible geometric theorem having to do with causality (What in the world -?! I’m an English major, for crying out loud!) but there is no social theorem based on faithfulness. No Wikipedia page, either. And yet, such a cycle exists. If you’re a Christian (not that you have to be a Christian to see the Cycle of Faithfulness around you) you know – on the best of authorities – that there is such a thing. (check out Proverbs 22:6)
With that intro, you understand the premise behind my Laramie Series. Children that see parents faithful to each other, faithful to a certain way of life and a certain set of values, too, have a good chance of being similarly faithful: to spouse, to family, to values. I know, I know. Life isn’t perfect and people are flawed, but I still believe my social theorem – the Cycle of Faithfulness – has worth. I see it in the lives and families of my friends and acquaintances. Louisa Caldecott Davis and John Rock Davis started out in Lily’s Sister as one faithful woman and one faithful man, and from those 2 people – and that 1 book – a whole family tree emerged. A whole series of books emerged, too.
With the publication of Smiling at Heaven, the Laramie Series is over. If you pay attention, you’ll notice something about the first 6 words of the first book and the first 6 words of the last book (No, it wasn’t a lapse in my mental faculties, although I can lapse with the best of you!) and you’ll find several other shadows of book 1, Lily’s Sister set in 1880, throughout Smiling at Heaven, book 6 set in 1919; it’s because the Cycle of Faithfulness is replaying. With the epilogue of Smiling at Heaven – the concluding chapter of the concluding book – I wanted the reader to see and consider the long-term effects of faithfulness and steadfast (sometimes difficult) affection, not by beating the reader over the head with a literary board (figuratively speaking) but in a more subtle way, a way that I hope you will find to be satisfying and also bittersweet, as hellos and goodbyes often are.
I give you The Laramie Series – after 8 years, my own hello and good-bye, as it were –
Lily’s Sister – Waiting for Hope – Where Home Is
Circled Heart – Gold Mountain – Smiling at Heaven