Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Eighty-Six

It was when I decided to bury the old man to the best of my ability and was looking around for rocks to form his sepulcher that I saw why the old man had come to this particular location.  It was so small that it made no sound discernible to my ears.  I looked at it and almost refused to believe what I was seeing, then I fell upon it like a ravenous beast.

A seep.  So small it barely survived once it exited the rocks but one so crystal pure that it almost hurt to look at it.  And cold, so cold that I know the water had to come from deep within the ground.  It took an hour to fill my empty water skin and I was so thirsty at that point that I drank nearly the whole of it and then had to put the skin to refilling once again.

Water.  A thing without which life is impossible.  The food in my pack contained some moisture, especially the syrupy, fruited cakes that I had in a tin, but it was not enough and had I had to go one more day I would have likely failed and simply shriveled up like the corpse of the old man.

The confluence of happenstance in my story is something I would question should I read it in a book but I cannot deny that to this point this is what has occurred to me.  It boggles the mind how such things are possible.  All my life I have been a creature of seeing before I willingly give belief.  Even my faith is something made up of the miracles I've read about and witnessed on this earth, felt in my own life, a perceivable and physical guiding force, and not of the higher flights of fancy I sometimes hear from the Brothers … and Sisters … who rely on emotion to build their faith.  But what has occurred the last few days, it is stripping away something within me.

In the ancient scriptures we are commanded over and over to be strong, to be courageous.  We are warned of obstacles that we cannot go over, around, or through ... on our own.  The battles we face are not necessarily our own but we must still prepare to fight in them, sometimes as soldiers, sometimes as generals, and sometimes as the grief stricken observers on the side lines.  But we are reminded time and again that we never fight the battles alone even when we are alone.

But it is so hard not to feel alone.  I've been stripped of the comfort of others so many times ... and yet ... and yet ...

At every turn there has been someone with me and I speak not just of faith.  My family was taken ... but Nat remained with me and I with him ... and even Rom during that season in my life.  Yes, I will admit that he was there for me in his own fashion and I cannot not remember that fact any longer.  And when those two were stripped from me and I felt so terribly alone that I was willing to fly from this life ... along came was Miz Marta and the others Below Stairs when I had no reasonable expectations of them taking me under the care as they did.  And then back to Nat though I was learning to have to live without him so that he could have a life of his own.  And then came ... then came the Sheriff even when I didn't realize it at first.

And here at this point, even the old Borderlander was here for me.  Or perhaps He allowed him to be here to serve this purpose.  So much interplay of lives that should have little to nothing to do with each other.

It is like a morality told around the fire at night.  A parable to teach a lesson and to edify, something that could not and would not happen in real life because of the extremes it contained, the obvious Hand of the Guiding Light.  And yet … and yet …

In the old Borderlander's small pack was a roll of parchment upon which a map was drawn.  At first it appeared useless but I had nothing better to do than puzzle at it while my water skin filled.  But then I recognized a strangely shaped rock that rose above my current position.  The drawing was crude but too alike to be ignored.  The symbol immediately beneath it … I wondered could it mean water?  And then I saw rudimentary stick notations and how similar they were to the ancient signs I remember from Nat’s papers he would bring home to study.  

I now have a chance.  Despite being in the middle of what appears to be a large desert plain I am no longer an ignorant wanderer circling space and time waiting for my death.  I have a path forward.  And I will start upon it as soon as I have filled the remainder of what little I have found to hold water in my pack.  I will use the leather cloak the old man no longer needs.  I will use the staff he left behind as well as I will have to pass across a great upheaval.   

I pray that the old man found himself forgiven on Judgment Day ... and may my family be there to welcome him to a home and call him family.  There is no such thing as coincidence.  God had to have had a hand in all of this.  I don’t know what the purpose is yet.  Perhaps I will never know but something tells me I will at least get a glimpse of it before the angels carry me off.

The light that will lead me along my path will be God's lesser light ... the one that he hung in the night sky.  I have a feeling that whatever terrorized me before will have no power over me again.  There may be other things out there, probably are, but for now my fear has been vanquished and hope has returned.

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