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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 75: Hastings 68
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Lauren realized that she was spreading herself too thin. She was practicing her physical combat and acrobatic abilities and her psionics, working with Derek with the laser rifles, helping in the kitchen, and now teaching school. Something was going to start to slip, and she was afraid it would end up being her prayer and Bible study time. It was tempting to let that go, because magic seemed to have gone out of this world almost entirely. Her prayers seemed to go unanswered–not that she prayed for anything dramatic, but more that it seemed quiet, too quiet, as if God wasn't listening. Between that and the lack of time, prayer was actually a bit discouraging. It would be easy to let it go.
But that was good reason to continue. If the devil could beat her so easily as by making her feel she was out of touch with God, she was already on a losing streak. She didn't have to feel like God was listening; she had His promise that He heard her prayers and watched her steps. That promise wasn't limited to one universe. God was bigger than that. So He wasn't doing the same dramatic and powerful things in this world. The evils in this world were very different from those she had faced elsewhere. The devil's work here had been to very physically destroy the world and steal from it all knowledge of all truth, the scientific and the spiritual. Her battle against him here took a different form, a tactic of bringing truth back to the world in every way she could. Miracles weren't necessary; faith still was. Hold fast that which is good, she thought, and that meant to keep praying and studying even when she felt nothing and learned nothing from it. What was that passage in Revelation? Something about how the readers and hearers of the words would be blessed. She had often heard and sometimes told others that it didn't say that you would be blessed if you understood. Only hearing or reading the book was required. She would continue to read, continue to pray, continue to do the things which had nurtured her spirit in the past, knowing and believing that they still did so even when she didn't feel it. It was as simple as that, and she would keep it that simple.
But she would do more. The recognition that her time of prayer was so important led to the realization that she could and should be including lessons of spiritual reality along with those of the physical reality. Bible classes should become part of the curriculum. Of course, she was already teaching at dinner—but if she segregated the spiritual lessons from the scientific ones she might create the perception that they were not both the same kind of truth. Better to put the Bible class between math and science and history and English, she thought, so that it will be considered at least as important as those. We can use dinner to answer other questions, and, well, to eat.
Paper was scarce; what remained of it was in bad shape after so long untended. Most of what had been produced had always been high acid paper, and consumed itself over the course of a century. Lauren could not count the centuries which had passed since the world stopped making paper, but only the best quality material remained, and that was no longer good. Instead, with Derek's help she learned to use the compound computers to create curricula, draw up lesson plans, write lectures and teaching outlines, and otherwise standardize what she was doing. This meant more time and more work, but she felt the importance of bringing knowledge back to the world. It mattered.
She wondered about the computers. She wondered whether there was information in them which would be valuable, which they could recover and use in their classes. She knew very little about these things. She supposed that computers in a place like this were very much focused on their function, and wouldn't have the kinds of things that would be useful. The ancients hadn't planned for the disaster, hadn't embedded their knowledge in places where it might survive. There had been an Internet at one time, she knew, but even if such a thing might have survived the cataclysm and subsequent ravages of time, she wouldn't know how to find it. It was something to ask Derek.
Other than with the computers, Derek was not much help at first. He seemed still to think of school as something he had escaped, which then had crept upon him and by stealth recaptured him. She let it slide, wanting first to see how the others took to it. Their excitement continued unabated as they discovered more of what it meant to understand what they called the Knowledge of the Ancients. Over the first weeks they began to draw Derek into it, asking him to help, to explain something or show them how it worked. She knew Derek had a younger sibling; he probably missed his family. He must have explained many things then, and doing so again might make him feel at home in the verse.
It would be Derek who would take them to the next level.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #104: Novel Learning. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: