Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume XI, Issue XXIII
People who inspire others are those who see invisible bridges at the end of dead-end streets.” – Charles R. Swindoll
It was an unseasonably beautiful day in early June and the biosphere was opened up to allow the sweet breeze to flow through it. The few remaining residents took the opportunity to wander out and enjoy the blooming tundra. Mister Bultitude had usually stayed in the company but now the old bear lifted his nose. There was change in the air and he started to wander. He somehow found himself walking toward the bridge. The older East-bound section had been closed indefinitely for extensive maintenance but there were no funds so it was simply closed. Power to the security cameras was even turned off. In any case it was not until a toll collector reported a bear wandering up the side of Cape Mountain that anyone saw him at all.
Ransom,’ who did not like confining the great bear, was concerned when he went missing but there was no way everyone could spread out looking for him. A bear doing pretty much anything in Alaska draws little or no suspicion. Humans in a line searching for him would. When the report came over bridge communication channels, ‘Ransom’ smiled. “Perhaps the old boy will follow in the footsteps of his namesake. Perhaps Worldstate is beginning to unravel.” ‘Joe’ was from Virginia, where there are plenty of wild bears. “Its JUNE, perhaps he’ll be like his namesake and find himself a lady bear!”
Ransom’ and ‘Joe’ walked the blooming hillside in the soft breeze. “I wish the great men and women were still with us.” Said ‘Joe.’ “Claudia and I feel so… INADEQUATE… if you know what I mean. Not at all like Dr. Greene… I mean, the torch has been passed to us of necessity but it seems sometimes that we walk in the shadow of giants… you know, we can NEVER be like them!”
We all feel that way,” ‘Ransom’ shot back, “but take the Greenes for example. I KNEW them… LOVED them. I need to tell you the story of their story. Zimmerman’s daughter Elizabeth hired a writer to come up here and write the story of the great bridge. When the manuscript was presented to her she shared it with the Greenes and her Father, the force behind the bridge. Mrs. Greene read her part of the story and didn’t say anything. Elizabeth was a close friend of Mrs. Greene and pressed her for her opinion anyway.
He made my character ‘TOO PERFECT’ the Pastor’s wife lamented. I’d really like to PULVERIZE him. He simply didn’t get it!”
Ransom’ continued; “You see, when the Greenes arrived on Big Diomede they were young and I think… kind of SCARED. They’d Pastored a church in the ‘lower 48’ and it was quite discouraging. I think they were ready to quit but Zimmerman was concerned that his bridge was developing a very unhealthy culture around itself. He knew some history so he decided to infuse some positive influence up here.
So the Greenes decided to give it one more try, but they came up here to a raw construction site. Everyone was of the tough rugged individualist school and they never darkened the door of the church. Mrs. Greene was quite lonely and she would tell you that she had pretty much screamed at the top of her lungs one day that if nothing changed she was headed back to Virginia, where she came from.
But her pain became a portal. As she saw her house rise from the muddy ground inside the biosphere, she looked to the bustling service plaza and saw the loneliness of the ladies working there. She took a job there and befriended a lot of them. She listened to their stories and led many of them to see new hope for their lives. Then she saw the vile trade in human servitude that went on in this lawless frontier and she devised a way to lead some of those girls out of it and into a new life. She had quite a bit of design talent which inspired her to create the little shops under the dormitory. Here the girls created fashions as they allowed the Divine to recreate their very lives.
Compressed into a story it seems so wondrous and complete, but there were missteps and numerous disappointments. Many people didn’t understand her and derided the work she did. That’s hard to believe now but read the full volumes of any history and you’ll find this true. Being a pioneer generally means you will be lonely and misunderstood at times. Perseverance is a wondrous thing, really, and most real success and innovation is simply believing in your mission and staying true to it… even as you walk alone.
By the time Big Diomede became a tourist stop she had many ladies around her who out of their own changed lives were helping her with the open air Bible lessons she taught. But I don’t think anyone really knows how much perseverance it took to get to that point.
She even thought about those of us who would follow her, and rumor has it she painted a little mural somewhere in the parsonage for its next occupants. Have you, perchance, found it… or is that just one of the stories that has grown up around her?” ‘Joe’ shook his head. “You would think with a four-year old in the house we would have scoped out everything.”
A few days later, ‘Joe’ walked into the old parsonage to find his wife in a bit of a panic; “Have you seen Lucy?” she asked, “She’s been gone for about forty minutes. I was busy with some baking and then I realized she wasn’t in the house!” “Have you searched?” ‘Joe’ said in reply. “Of course! I have looked through the whole house, starting with the closets!” “Well,” said ‘Joe,’ I think it is time we think like a four-year old and search again.” They made their way through the house once more and when they got to the little attic bedroom they paused. Here in the half-wall paneling a piece was pushed slightly askew. Claudia crept closer. There was a small shaft of light coming from the crack.
She and ‘Joe’ looked in with amazement. Here was a simple closet in an eve space, but it created a child-sized place. Lucy was talking. They wanted to listen in. “We knew the story,” Claudia whispered, “but I wondered why we never found it.” Lucy sat in the small lighted closet with her stuffed animal ‘luvvies’ in front of a painting. It was a small mural but it filled the back of the closet. “We never found it because we never thought as a child!” Here in what had been, obviously, the first Queen Lucy’s bedroom was a mural that was really more of a magical portal for it depicted the world of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia!
Surveying all, from the clouds at the top of the painting was the majestic Lion, Aslan! There was the great sea, the Dawn Treader making sail and Cair Paravel. Here were green hills and majestic mountains and in the foreground four children greeted a faun carrying an umbrella and a parcel under a street lamp in a snowy wood. “So, Kris Greene really DID leave a painting in the house!” Claudia said softly. “We knew she painted ‘The School of Athens’ at the college but we just sort of forgot about the other story.”
One can only imagine Kris’ little daughter playing here for hours, just like Lucy is doing. It is remarkable! How fortunate is any little girl who is so blessed!” Indeed, Lucy would now spend hours here with her stuffed ‘luvvies,’ taking them with her into this magical world where animals talked.
Kris had other young mothers in the old biosphere,” Claudia said to ‘Joe’ one day. “Lucy needs other children.” Indeed ‘Joe’ was beginning to sense that portals, when you found them, were not something to be guarded, but were meant to be walked through. He and ‘Ransom’ talked about this quite a bit now as it turned out.
Mátyás Corvinus was growing restless too. He had gone out some to encourage the groups but cautiously. It was pretty well established that his status as ‘missing’ was preventing a wholesale crackdown on the followers of ‘The Way.’ “Mátyás, you can do the most good here by taking my place. I am not well. My old life weighs in heavily upon me now and I do not know how long I shall be in this world. I am ready to step into Eternity… dare I say that I am quite looking forward to it! But I do think you most important in what you are doing here. Please, in any case, consider it.”
Mátyás thought of his two brothers. He WANTED them to know the peace he had found, but saw the greater good to be had as he remained hidden. Somehow he had the feeling he would have to confront them, but for now there was a great work to be done right where he was. He smiled as he allowed himself to be overtaken by contentment. The evening sun cast a golden light through the dome and the trees and walls glowed with its warmth. The little horses grazed on the college green. Little Lucy skipped out onto the green from her front door, having just returned from Narnia in time for dinner! Her parents followed her out the door and each took one of her hands as together they walked to the refectory.
(to be continued) [click to read]
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