43.6, Thurs., April 13, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. Luxeuil

Ana and the children will be home from church soon, expecting we will be home too. But our long walk is punctuated with one childish plea after another — random arguments — tossed at me like unbaited fishhooks hopelessly cast onto the sea. I remain silent. I’ve no reason to argue. I know what is right.

“But Papa, God needs young swordsmen and riders!”

“Father Columbanus would be pleased.”

“Momma would be proud of us.”

Finally they just settle into quiet seething with a few snarling interludes so at least I can think now and try to make sense of this.

They are at an age. I’m not of an age. I am older. I know what they don’t know, and I never want to see them riding off with swords and armor because some baro who works for a dux convinces them God needs soldiers. Father Columbanus would never send out messengers armed with anything but his own fine-spun words. Surely Columbanus isn’t condoning children as guardsmen. And why does an abbot’s messenger even need guardsmen? Why do bishops even have guards? They just think they need guards because generations of nobility don’t know any better. Surely a great man named for a dove, follower of Christ, has no need for an armed envoy.

But in their little child minds they imagine their beautiful mother riding off across the rivers to carry healing and a message of peace for people in need; then, they imagine she would be proud to see them on warhorses, girding swords? They are children.

Dear God, they are beloved children. Why does it call for greater strength to be peacemakers than warriors? Why can’t their mindless, and incessant heroism just be about peace? Is love so much harder to believe in than hatred? I’ll wait for answers. Amen.

So the argument lands at Ana’s feet.

They are just returning from the church in the wood. Hugs and welcome, home smells and fragrances of familiar. I wish we could ignore this worry and just be home.

“Simon and Hannah have been such able helpers” Ana reports.

So a ten-year-old is a fine farmer, but a twelve-year-old is a child. A ten-year-old sees a need and rescues with a fix and everyone is better for it. A twelve-year-old can only see himself in the light of others’ opinions. This whimsy of courage is irrational.

(Continues Tuesday, April 18, 2023)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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