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Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leathercrafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address: http://soulscompass.blogspot.com/.

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deeper warrior 8Deeper Warrior Chapter 8: Original Documents

Living across the common room from Christine, I got to know more of her friends. Carol, now a safe distance away in Wisconsin, had called me before I moved to Ash House to warn me that Chris was “…a…a…Navigator.” I had no idea what she meant.

A group of these “Navigators” came to Christine’s room every week to spend a couple hours talking about the Bible—at least, that’s what they said. They dressed like fashionable preppies of the time with the collars of their pastel polo shirts turned up and seemed otherwise to be what I referred to in high school as “popular.”

The weirdest thing about them though, was that they seemed to like me. They didn’t seem put off by my scruffy T, flannel shirt and jeans ensemble, topped by the unkempt pseudo-afro that my hair formed without encouragement. They always smiled at me whenever I ran into them, and even remembered my name and called me by it cheerfully.

I mean, Chris liked me, which was strange enough even though she wasn’t exactly in the preppie set. I thought she was just an outlier like me, only not as close to the fringe. I still vividly remembered the people at the church in Brooklyn, who accepted me and cared about me, even though they had never met me before, and would never see me again. These Navigator people were kind of like that.

What on earth made these people different? One day it occurred to me: all these people were christians. Whoa! Could that be the connection, the thing that made them different? I thought I’d better do some research.

Now, how to research this christianity thing? Were there original documents somewhere? Hmmm, perhaps at Christine’s church down the block. I slipped out of the house, walked past the Catholic church and into the Lutheran church just beyond it. Affecting nonchalance, I ambled through the library, browsing titles, until I found what I was looking for. The Holy Bible. I slipped it cautiously from the shelf, found a private corner to myself, and began to read. Genesis, chapter 1.

I was startled at what I found there: The world created in a glorious symphony of words; the earth flooded, then saved; plagues on Egypt; the Red Sea parted and a pillar of fire that led the people through; Joshua and company crossed the Jordan dry shod, and the sun stood still for them at his prayer.

Back in junior high I had discovered the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Reading The Hobbit burst open the doors of my imagination—a technicolor alternate universe drawn in contrast to the shades-of-sepia reality around me. I was convinced that Middle Earth was my true home—far, far more real to me than the scene outside the windows of my parents’ mobile home.

Then I read The Lord of the Rings. Again I walked through Middle Earth, marveling at the richness it contained. The comfortable homeyness of the Hobbit lands, the green beauty of the deep forests. I could almost feel the bark of the trees beneath my hand, the rocks and grass beneath my bare feet, as though I walked right alongside the four travelers from the Shire.

Evil I saw there too; recognizing it from where I had met it here in the Shadowlands. The hungry jealous darkness of the Nazgul, the cunning and deceitful ambitions of Saruman.

I learned about honor, courage, loyalty, fortitude. I watched those who set themselves against evil take on incredible odds. When they could no longer ride, they walked. When they could no longer walk, they crawled. They continued to stand and fight even when hope was impossible. Better to die fighting evil than live, having conceded to its slavery!

How desperately I had wanted to live in Tolkien’s world! I’d grieved deeply the knowledge that it wasn’t real, that although I had this window into a rich and beautiful place, I was forever stuck in the old drab world.

But now, in the sacred writings of an ancient people, I had found the same kind of world. Full of beauty and darkness, and resisting evil and giving in to it and turning again. Messy and glorious and real. For this was my world, and as fantastic as it seemed, I might be able to join this adventure.

After several trips to the Lutheran library—somewhere in Exodus—Christine became curious.

“Where have you been going so much lately?”

I felt my face turn red. “Er, well… that is… I mean…” I paused and cleared my throat. “I’ve, uh, been going over to the, er, church and, well, reading the Bible.”

Laughing, Chris said, “Why didn’t you tell me? Here…” She left my room and returned carrying a hardbound Bible. “This is an extra one. Should be easier to read than the one you found over there. And you can stay here to read it.”

She was right, the English was a lot less stilted than the musty tome I had found at the church. I continued my journey through the messy adventures of God’ chosen people.

story by bobbie jo morrell, all rights reserved

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