I was his baby girl. I have memories of sitting on his lap to listen when radio reported on the War in Europe. People don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into, Era bear. Then he told the story of the Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot.
Soon after Easter they embarked, disappointed in the newest baptized who seemed to take Christianity lightly, because they had celebrated and gloried but despite the teaching of Lent few made effort to relieve the poor and suffering in their midst.
The boatsman sighted an unexpected sight of land and Brendan made to investigate. When the saint landed on a small island and made a fire to warm them, to their surprise their dogs whined and barked in every direction. The island at once began to move and the water’s edge surged back and rushed them into their boat. At a distance, it turned out to have been a floating, slumbering, giant whale, the míol mór.
Monsters in the deep, he said, were the earliest creation of God and existed even before God made the land, or humankind. Their appearance was feared and the saint asked in his Bible what the meaning was, and he found in its first pages the answer. Brendan taught his companions that here was a harbinger of God to those of little faith; that just as in the beginning there would come an end, and that waters could once again swallow up the land, and human could be no more.
Now I’m not saying God created this war, and I’m sad to know men can love war because we think it makes us men, and can think God made us to fight for our side and that victory will serve God’s glory. It must have been fearfully confusing for Saint Brendan that day on the whale. The force of the water changing all around as if to drown you.
One day you might see more clearly, Era bear, that we have all been mistaken to think we stand on land, when it is really an enormous fish afloat. I hope for war to end, I hope for your brother’s sake he can act a man. God knows, I hope one day we will not need war to prove ourselves right.
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