The next day Alexis woke up feeling different. What is this strange feeling? she wondered. Stretching, she reluctantly rose to her knees, leaving her comfortable sleep sanctuary and walking to the opening of her bamboo shelter. Wincing as she raised her hand to shield her eyes from the bright light pouring into her bedroom, she said aloud, “Bright sun this morning,” although nobody was there. Emerging into the morning glow, Alexis tried to ignore the uneasy feeling in her stomach. What was I dreaming about? It was on the edge of her mind, but she couldn’t get to it. It was something intense, she knew and felt. They’re not going to let me stay here, she thought.
Although she’d been on the island for about six months now, she suddenly felt like everything was going to change. She felt so free and her heart was full and happy among all the living plants and friendly people. The whole place and the whole experience all seemed so surreal. Sublime. She sat down with a pencil and some paper and started to write.
“Sheltering shadows shield sweet sincere soulful spheres seeking silent serene sunshine Sunday. Self-sharing smiles seem so sublime seeking synchronistic solace, sleeping soundly snuggling sighs see satisfaction since snoozing sous Saturday sparkling stars….soothe session. Shooting showering shimmers softly sensing similar spirit-sealing sunset sea shore secrets. Suddenly solidly saved–surreal.”
Think I’ll call it “Serendipity,” thought Alexis., feeling clever as she took alliteration to its heights. She loved the language and the beautiful things you could write with it. Even if it didn’t make sense to some. It still made her feel good, as she had learned from Wynn.
“Hey girl,” Vicky broke her trance as she walked up to Lexy. “Whatcha writin’?”
“Oh nothing,” said Lexy, accustomed to hiding her words.
“Okay,” said Vicky, glancing at the notebook on Lexy’s lap. “Want to go for a swim at River Side Cafe?” When Lexy didn’t answer, Vicky offered, “Or we could go later, if you’d rather write, okay?”
Alexis shook her head. “It’s not that Vicky. It’s, well, I don’t know. I can’t seem to explain this feeling. I woke up this morning feeling like this is all kind of like a dream and that I’m going to wake up any second.” Vicky nodded with a half smile.
“I know. You’ve gone through a lot of changes in a short amount of time. Not just physical changes, but mental and spiritual. Maybe you should just relax a little more and not try to figure it all out right away,” suggested Vicky.
“Yeah, I guess. But it just feels so temporary all of a sudden,” said Lexy.
“And what is lasting?” countered Vicky. Lexy shrugged. She felt maybe it was better to leave her worries unspoken. “Look. Morning prayers are about to start,” said Vicky, pointing toward the gathering group standing on the green grass overlooking the roaring waves below. She offered her hand to Alexis.
As if in answer to her own thoughts, the girls joined the group just as J.J. was reading the verse of the day.
“‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'”
Lexy felt her arms and legs tingle. She glanced at Vicky, who caught her eye right at that moment. She winked and smiled. J.J. continued. “Thank you Lord for this glorious day.” He was quiet for a few seconds, then someone started singing.
“This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.” They all joined in: “I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it. This is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it; this is the day, this is the day, that the Lord, hath, made,” sang the group. The vibrant sun warmed their bowed heads as each one thanked God for their blessings.
“Thank you Lord, for bringing me to this island,” Alexis said. One by one, they finished their thanks and everybody said, “Amen.”
“I have something I’d like to share,” said Allan. “It’s Isaiah 4:2, and I woke up with it in my head. I think the Holy Spirit wanted me to tell you this. ‘In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent, and comely for them that are escaped from Israel.’ Thank you Lord.” A few people clapped and some cried, as they felt the presence of the Holy Spirit move through them in waves of happiness and joy inexplicable. They returned to camp glowing with the touch of God.
“What’s wrong, Ronnie?” asked Josiah, walking into the kitchen hand in hand with Alexis and seeing Ronnie’s expression. Ronnie shook his head and wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. The rest of the group began congregating in the kitchen, waiting to hear the news.
“What is it?” prodded Noah, looking at Gregg and Ronnie, whose pale, drawn faces were evidence that something bad had happened. Gregg looked at the group of people, his family and friends, standing in front of him, and he did not want to hurt them with the news he knew would bring so much pain.
“I don’t know an easy way to say this,” he began. “While you were at morning prayers, Ronnie saw something off shore. It was a shirt. We ran down to the beach,” his voice faltered. “We got to the beach and found a body. Oh my God!” he sobbed.
“Whose body?” asked John quietly, verbalizing the question in everyone’s mind.
“Wynn Elias’,” croaked Gregg.
“Oh my God!” As expected, the group was broken up with the news.
“No!” Alexis cried. “He can’t be gone!” Josiah tried to comfort Alexis with a hug, but he couldn’t hold back his own grief. They held each other and cried. “Oh Wynn, Wynn…. Why?”
They held a memorial service for their dearly loved friend the next afternoon. “May he rest in peace and have eternal life with his father,” Pastor J.J. ended. “He risked his own life to help others and his memory will always live in our hearts.” They were silent. The waves crashed on the cliff below. John, usually silent, spoke up then, his words burning with emotion.
“‘Elias truly shall first come and restore all things,’ it says in Matthew, Chapter 17, verse 11.” He paused. “Many of you know Wynn’s full name: Wynn Elias Cyrene. ‘But I say unto you, that Elias is come already and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.'” J.J. and Kira stood by John and nodded, as did several others, in understanding.
“He’s with his family now, his sister, mother, and father,” Amber offered, her voice shaky, her hand clutching Joshua’s.
“He spent his life in service for others. He is a martyr and a true friend,” added Judd.
Simon stood near his brother, and the twins wept. “Hold me Daddy,” Aja said to Joshua. “Grandpa’s in Heaven now,” she reminded him in her childish innocence.
“I know Aja,” Joshua answered his daughter, bending down to pick her up. “We just miss him so much.”
“He’s probably watching us now, smiling and saying, ‘Don’t cry; rejoice in the Lord,'” thought Josiah. After each person said what they wanted about Wynn Elias, they were silent.
Then Colette read from her Bible: “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth, yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.’ That was Revelations 14:13,” she said.