A Journey of a Lost Soul

By Anastasia Fahey, Eudora Mathewes, Genevieve Bell, and Abby Roth.

Illustrated by Anastasia Fahey

Chapter One

The River of Idleness

“Father, please! You must help me! I don’t know what to do!” The peculiar elder led

me to a chair and offered me a seat.

“Calm down, my child, and tell me all your worries. God will help you.” Beneath the

aged face and raggedy chestnut brown beard was a smile such that I had never seen. The long

cloak and animal skin robe he was wearing added to his curious appearance, but his serene

countenance penetrated my entire being. I wondered how a human could attain such heavenly

peace.

“Well, Father, I’ve been having a very hard time. You see, my wife died just a month ago.

I cannot live without her. She was the joy of my life. Recently my only son was diagnosed with

brain cancer, and the hospital bills are quite expensive, so I had to accept a new job with a higher

pay. This requires me to move to a different state, and at the moment I don’t have enough money

to do so. Father, I feel like God has forgotten about me.” The elder sat thinking for a while, but at

last he spoke,

“What is your name?”

“John,” I replied.

“Well, John, on the eastern side of this island there is a mountain. I want you to climb to

the top. I believe you will find your answer up there.” With that he led me out of the tiny cell and

gave me his blessing.

Some divine force led me to the foot of a towering mountain. A gushing river was blocking

my path though. This river was teeming and bubbling with energy. It reminded me of the

temptation of idleness because of its never ending movement. Laziness never seems to leave my

mind, because it is such a large temptation, I thought. “Well, I’ll have to turn back because there

is obviously no way to cross it.” Without knowing, I had just succumbed to the temptation by not

asking for God’s help. However, before the river was out of sight I spotted a small rowboat along

the shore. Immediately I inspected it and found it quite seaworthy. I set out in my little vessel.

Crossing the river was not without struggle, and by the time I reached the other side my arms and

back were aching terribly. Why, I just realized how we can conquer the temptation of laziness! I

thought. My struggle in crossing the river is just like fighting idleness through fasting, prayer,

and reading the Scriptures. Thank you God for revealing this to me! With that, I continued on my

journey along a path leading up the mountainside.

– Anastasia Fahey

Chapter Two

Battle of the Senses

My soul cried out in a mixture of joy and pain as I embarked further on this new path.

God is always watching and if only I had asked for help I would have crossed the river sooner.

Now the sky was beginning to darken and the clouds were heavy with rain. The wind rattled my

bones. Shivering, I walked faster. The sun was almost down, only a few rays of sunlight

streamed through the dense forest. I begrudgingly decided I should look for a place to rest for the

night. The wind howled at my ears as I walked, and I watched the clouds just waiting for them to

burst. Oh, why had I decided to do this? Climb a mountain that probably does not even exist?

Before I could question myself further, a shining light seemed to burn my eyes. In front of me,

blocking my path was a beautiful tall golden statue. It was in the shape of a peacock radiating

with power. I couldn’t tear my eyes from it.

A tiny voice inside of me, told me it was not real, an illusion, but I pushed it away, taking

a step closer. Perhaps, I mused, perhaps this is a special statue. Maybe in the shape of a god. If I

were to maybe pray to it or give a sacrifice towards it, it would help me. Enlighten me on my

journey. Just then the light faded and I saw that my golden statue was not gold. It was only a trick

of the light, the statue was in fact bronze, and with the last bits of light, it appeared like it was

glowing. The sun had completely set now and the statue darkened.

My face burnt with shame. I fell to my knees weeping bitterly. I made the sign of the cross, my

soul calling out the One and True God. A light brighter than that of the statue erupted over the

woods. The statue fell to dust. My heart that was heavy moments before felt lighter. Only, You

Lord, are perfect. You are my light, Lord, this statue is nothing compared to the wonders and

beauty your Kingdom holds. With those words in my mind a new path appeared.

-Genevieve Bell

Chapter Three

A Path of Discernment

I started on the new path, still ashamed of having let myself get distracted. I had a battle raging

in my mind about whether I was even capable of reaching the top of the mountain. I walked

down the new path for a while before I came to a fork in the road. There were two paths for me

to take, to my left was one that was clear, the ground smooth and the path straight. It seemed as if

it went past all the ravines and steep hills, straight up to the top of the mountain. The path to my

right was overgrown, full of brush and very steep. At the other side of the path lay a beautiful tall

church where you could hear hymns being sung. I felt drawn to the church, it looked beautiful

and the hymns sounded so beautiful and angelic. The church felt like the reason I was here and

something deep inside was nudging me to go to it. But on the surface I felt even more strongly

drawn to the easy, clear path.

I decided to follow the easy path thinking that it might also bring me to the beautiful church,

regardless of whether I could see it at the end or not. I walked down the path for a while

confident in my decision before I eventually found an open clearing. It was clean, dry and even

seemed to be warmer than everywhere else. I thought it was the perfect place to sleep for the

night. As I lay down on a patch of soft grass I thought to myself, I am so glad I didn’t take the

other path. It is dark and cold out and I might have never found a good place to sleep if I had

followed the other path considering how messy it was. I found a comfortable position and fell

immediately into a deep, comfortable sleep. Just a few hours later I woke up to a wildfire

surrounding me.

-Eudora Mathewes

 

Chapter Four

Flaming Endurance

Fire. It was everywhere. It reminded me of my enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil

which never cease to attack me. The smoke was burning my eyes and making breathing almost

impossible. All the trees were flaming and many came crashing down because their roots had

been burned. I grappled to find some open clear air, but all was in vain. The heat was practically

unbearable and my hair was singed. The clothes I was wearing began to melt and stick to my

body. I was sure I would die at that very moment. My enemies are innumerable, and too strong. I

will never be able to overcome them! I thought. My Sweet Lord and Savior, please help me! Save

me from my passions! I cried out.

Immediately I felt a drop of rain on my skin, and soon I was completely drenched in water.

The sound of water sizzling on every limb and leaf was music to my ears. My breath was

restored, and I felt completely renewed. My flesh was no longer boiling with heat. It was instead

veiled with a cool and crisp substance that healed every wound. Suddenly a thought came upon

me. God’s desire to save me is greater than that of my enemy to destroy me. My God, please

forgive me for doubting your greatness and mercy. You are my refuge and strength. Only with You

can I overcome evil.

-Anastasia Fahey

 

Chapter Five

Divine Reflection

I was still in shock after the fire was put out, but I continued to praise the Lord. “Thank

you, Father, for delivering me from what could have been a terrible death!” I fell down to my

knees as I thanked him. I began to walk again, on this path that almost brought death upon me.

After a while of walking I began to become weary and tired.

Once again, I saw a stream of fresh clear water that flowed from the top of the mountain. I

went over to it and stooped to get a drink of water, and as I looked at the water I saw my

reflection. I saw how weary and exhausted I looked, and suddenly longed to be home again.

What was the point of all this? Nothing had changed, if anything, I was worse off than before.

But then I started thinking of everything that I had encountered on my journey, and how God had

intervened many times, and saved me. My mind cleared, and I looked back at my reflection and I

felt like I was glowing. Peace filled my heart, soul and body.

-Abby Roth

 

Chapter Six

Gaining Christian Perfection

With my head clear and my heart light I made it to the top of the mountain. I had left the trees

behind me and made it to a large clearing, covered with glistening snow. I breathed in deeply.

When has the air been so clear? When did the sky seem so blue? Oh God, I called in my heart,

thank you for the air! The sky, the clouds, the sun. With You all these beautiful things are

possible!

I suddenly felt ashamed. God had made so many beautiful amazing things in the world and I

let myself get distracted multiple times on this journey. I constantly forgot about God and didn’t

ask for his help when I was having trouble. I realized that every problem I had had recently was

because I wasn’t putting all my trust in God or asking for His help when I was in need, instead I

was simply trusting myself and my own thoughts. I had done so much wrong, most of my actions

were the exact opposite of what the church had taught me to do. I was glad to have learned my

lesson and everything seemed clear to me.

I fell to the ground and prayed. “Thank you Father for everything you have done for me. I

now know that if I put my trust in you, that you will take care of me and my family. Thank you

also, Elder, for helping me and giving me the opportunity to learn this valuable lesson”.

“With this new clarity of mind I have acquired, I think I should return to the world now. Even

though I was once barely surviving but now I am living a life that has meaning. My wonderous

Lord has saved me!”

-Abby, Anastasia, Genevieve and Eudora

 

Epilogue

Heading down the mountain felt like I was flying. My path, not once changing. Never had

I once felt this clarity that I had now. Never had I once felt so sure. I knew my certainty was not

my own though, only with God I was all these things. Only with God can I be certain that I

would be all right. By putting my trust in him, I felt less anxious, less downhearted. My heart and

soul soared. When I reached my village, I immediately began to search for the elder. I had to

thank him for the wonderful gift he had given me! He had given me Christ. He had opened the

key to my soul where the Holy Spirit could now dwell in unity within me.

I came upon the small monastery where I had met the Elder, St. John the Forerunner

Monastery. Entering I found a small monk painting an icon.

“Excuse me, Brother?” I began, “Could you help me find the Elder of this monastery?”

The monk smiled fondly,

“Why, you have found him. How may I help you?”

I shook my head confused.

“Is there another elder? I was here only a few days ago, and I met with him. I even spoke

with him, he helped me a great deal, and I have come to thank him.” The supposed elder

wrinkled his brow confused, standing up. When he stood up I caught a glimpse of the icon he

had been painting. I gasped, pointing at the icon exclaiming,

“That’s him, that’s the elder!” The man smiled looking at the painting with awe, “My

dear, dear, man, that is St. John who died a very long time ago.” I stared at the icon and just for

a moment the elder in the icon seemed to smile right back…

The End

-Genevieve Bell

 

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