Wednesday, July 15, 2015

THYME Magazine: The Bridge Builder's Tale XII

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor


Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." -- John 14:1-3

The BSBS investigators swept the young Turk away. He had leapt from his cab after he jacknifed and took off running. A tunnel spotter saw him sprinting toward Big Diomede and tackled him to the pavement. He turned out to be no terrorist at all, but a man woefully out of his familiar world. Hitting a bit of slick pavement at a faulty tube seal, he had over-corrected for the slide as he was running a bit too fast over the 'hump.' Joe felt compassion for him, a young man who was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. He felt badly for the initial rage he had directed toward him.

Joe regretted his emotional outpourings long after he felt them... he seemed so often to fail as the solid personality he admired in others. Yet now the words of his old Pastor in Virginia came to mind... that doing something new and badly was far better than perfect repetition that advanced nothing. Joe may have loved those around him poorly, but at least he sought new heights in loving them. Could he have advanced some Divine design in doing so? He thought of Willa and Katie. He had indeed abandoned them to 'find himself' in the wilds of Siberia, yet the devotion he saw in their eyes on SKYPE testified to a different reality.

Joe handed off his rig to a relief driver who was flown to Big Diomede. They would fly Joe out when he requested, but he would have to make the call. Some guys would take a deep breath and get right back to driving after a wreck. Some needed to step away. Joe felt like he needed time and space. Kris' husband was the pastor of the litte church on Big Diomede and like Priscilla and Aquilla of old, they welcomed the old driver into their home and 'showed him a more excellent way.' Like Bilbo Baggins in the house of Elron, his countenance relaxed and he wore a mantle of peace.

The hollyhocks were blooming in Kris' garden now, and Joe spent hours in their colorful company. They were for Kris a connection to her Great-grandmother, planted from pods taken from her garden, but for the old trucker they took on a different meaning. He longed to snip a few discreetly and carry them to Willa. She'd accuse him of stealing them, like she did when he first brought her daffodils during their courtship. He found himself idly drawing their blossoms on a piece of printer paper. The little garden nurtured more than flowers. It seemed to nurture both contemplation and reconciliation. The old man had sought something staring out a windshield into the vast tundra. It found him in this tiny but well-nurtured plot of ground.


Slowly Joe's thoughts became clear again. He even scribbled in a notebook under the title "There and Back Again, " collecting his thoughts. But the line of the map had a sure direction now. Sitting in a bit of Virginia recreated on Big Diomede, his heart was drawn ever stronger to the REAL Virginia. He SKYPED Willa for hours now. They had wracked up huge phone bills during their courtship and now Joe feared he was wearing out his welcome on the parsonage computer. He felt bad about it, and left a 'donation' discreetly under the mouse-pad.

Still, it was Willa who had stood together with him through the good times and the bad. They had shared caring for Willa's aging parents and nurturing little Kate. Joe had made her little cards with illustrations of a little gardener. Together they had nurtured two children, weathered the failure of Joe's businesses and found new purpose looking into the deep blue eyes of their Granddaughter. They were, together, the kind of spirits that nourished those around them. Alone in the cab, Joe was but a man of thoughts, thoughts devoid of action.

Joe had to admit he'd been running. The big checks from Intercontinental Logistics were a poor substitute for what Willa needed now. 'Discovering' some colored pencils and deckle-edged paper in his room, he drew a little fellow with a watering can. A garden now flowed from Joe's hand. The flowers filled the page with their vivid forms. Opening the card, his eyes grew moist. "Dear Willa," the words flowed from Joe's hand. "Please forgive me." The wanderer was coming home.


(to be continued) [click to read]

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