Tell me, what is important in a person’s life? Is it their job? A family perhaps? Success or fame? Maybe even just getting through the four years of high school? Everyone understands that life itself is important. It is fleeting and can vanish in an instant. But what is important within that life? If it is as short as we claim it to be then why bother. There is a humorous saying, “why take life seriously, no one gets out alive any way.”
If only that were true.We do get out alive. Maybe not in body but our soul is to forever live on. The hard part to swallow is what category of “life after death” do you fall under? There is the glorious eternal life of joy and perfection, or you can forever be separated from a holy and perfect God. Who doesn’t want to follow a leader that is perfect in every way?
The best part of all of this is that the choice is yours. God has chosen to give you life in paradise after death, but if you don’t want it you just say “no.” However, as I said before, God is perfect so He cannot overlook our sinful nature. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God, being holy, cannot even look on sin, let alone live among it. Okay, so what’s the big deal? Well in Romans 6:23 God says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus? Yes Jesus. If it weren’t for Him there would be no gift. He was able to come to earth as a man and as God, completely perfect and holy and He died on a cross (Romans 5:8 “But God proved His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”) His perfect self took all the sin we have committed and will ever commit and He took it to death with Him. But He didn’t stay dead. Because Christ lived a perfect sinless life, He was able to conquer even death. And so, “If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” Romans 10:9. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13. He loves us, all of us. None of this is something you have to do. It is simply saying “Yes God, I believe You.” God takes care of the rest. Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” Life is Christ. We would be nothing without Him, and death? Death becomes a joy when you have Christ, you go to paradise. Who doesn’t want that?
Life is Christ.
I hear your voice on the wind
And I hear you call out my name
The net sinks down into the water and when it is pulled back up, silver fish gleam in the fading sunlight, flopping to and fro, and gasping for air. I marvel at it for what seems like the hundredth time, even though I have been watching this skill for no more than two weeks.
At first it seemed like a silly game they played, but the settlers are earnest in their undertakings. Every morning, at first light, the men from the settlement will wander out from their homes, taking boxes and nets with them, bags with lunches, and an array of other tools they use for their trade. Then they all make their way to the shore, get into their boats, and float out to the open water. Throughout the day they will set nets and traps and put out their fishing lines. They sing tunes and laugh with each other across the waters that separate them.
It seems to me that all of the men, both young and old alike, partake in this trade. The women will stay home to raise children, bake breads, do laundry and prepare meals for when the men return. Some of the families even tend farms that cover the fields around the settlement. All of them move like one body each day; all except for one. I followed him one day when I noticed he did not join the men on the main shore. He seems lighter skinned than the others. He has a cloth covering one eye, and a jagged scar that peaks out underneath the covering. When he goes out each day, he travels through the brush and over some of the small cliffs, to reach a hidden cove. Here he fishes from the shore. He has no boat, but he brings his net and pole and basket each day, and fishes until the sun is ready to set. I follow him every day now. I watch his movements, and the tactics he uses to lure the fish into their trap.
The first day I saw this settlement, I was scouting. It is my chosen job in our colony. There are many other high standing jobs I had qualified for, but as a scouter I could see beyond our closed off city. My duty was to look for other settled areas we could build, for we are always expanding in numbers. I was to also look out for trouble. Anything that was too close to our city that could pose a threat. It is a quite job most of the time. The biggest threat we have had was when a mother whale swam too close to the Island our city is built on, and sprayed water over some of the members of the Skein. The Skein is our authority. They make the decisions and rules for us to abide by, and by us I mean the flock, my people.
I stretch my wings out and prepare to take off again. I have already spent far too much time away from the city and people will begin to wonder what has happened. People are always wondering.
“I will return tomorrow,” I say, just like every evening. I know he cannot hear me, but it makes me feel as though somehow I am connected to this settlement. That somehow I owe them for the service they do not know they give me.
My feathers ruffle in the strong wind that brushes the top of the cliff I have perched on. As my bare feet hit the ground in a run, my wings stretch out and catch the breeze, lifting me up into the sky. Apart from singing, flying is my favorite thing to do. I close my eyes and let the wind guide me from side to side. I am meant to have a partner, but after much complaining the Skein has agreed to allow me search time alone. Most of the other flock members are loyal to a fault when it comes to the Skein. They talk nonstop about how the Skein has our best interest in mind, the Skein will someday find a perfect settlement for us; the Skein would never let us down. But the Skein is just another authority. When I am flying alone, coasting from one air current to the next, I am free.
Watching those Disney movies as a kid really puts a little girl’s hopes up for her own prince someday. The pretty girl always gets herself into trouble and then out of nowhere a handsome young prince comes riding in on his white horse and saves her. Then they ride off into the sunset and get married and live happily ever after. The end.
But it doesn’t go like that. People don’t live happily ever after. For that to happen they would need the “ever.” Ever implies that it does not stop. Love continues with this happy-go-lucky attitude people portray to the rest of the world. When in reality they are struggling with their marriage and their kids are rebelling and money becomes an issue so arguments start, and the pieces of the fairy tale slip away. I’m not saying these things are inevitable and that marriages are just destined to fall apart; but bad things will happen.
The true happy ending is up to us. We are responsible for our lives and our love. Love is not a feeling that can be called upon whenever the princess is in trouble. Love is a choice. One that is hard to make during financial ruin and parental demise. It is difficult to conjure when that person does not have the same butterfly feelings as before. However, I do believe in love, and I believe in fairy tales. Where poison apples are our crumbling affections, and dragons of reality try to torch our passions. I believe in beauty and I believe in the beast. The Belle of love will choose to live with the Beast of adversity, and in the end he will become a handsome promise that life will continue and we will have happy endings.
I believe that people can change, people can love, and will live to make those things happen. It is our real live fairy tale, and the ending is just waiting to be written.