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“Air!” barked the command to the waiting Ukrainian jet fighters running toward their jets, snapping on helmets, starting ignitions without checking and taking off at night—always at night. Secrecy shrouded these sorties, the location of the jets, their destination.

For these young men, it was another night of work. They had a country to defend, families, relatives, work. Around the dinner table, no one asked where they were going. In gripping silence, the airmen waited at varied sites where the jets had been moved earlier.

Purposely, they led their enemies on back-to-back spirals and insane zigzags to deplete their gas tanks, forcing them to withdraw from combat. (Such as I remembered from yesterday’s Yahoo article.)

The depths of Ukrainian prayer have no name, honed by centuries of oppression and warmongering that only strengthened their resiliency. In my perception, last night’s display seems related to ineffable-spirit-directing trigger fingers, checking instruments, perhaps cursing, singing, laughing as the airmen who landed safely walked home on broken roads.

So how did this resiliency toward pain and suffering manifest, centuries ago? Undoubtedly, it was related to the discovery of God’s Spirit within the depths of our hearts, its wise expression for our times:

“As we become aware of the realm of the spirit, our lives begin to change,” a quote found in Recipe for Recovery: A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Chronic Pain Anonymous.

You can’t help but change as the Ukrainians are learning, and we, with them.

…And out came another horse, bright red, and its rider was given the duty to take away peace from the earth and set people killing each other. He was given a huge sword… Revelation 6:4

Thus skulks the verbiage of our news media upon the unknowing: the second rider of the Book of Revelation blowing up, maiming, terrifying the sleepless populace in their bunkers. It’s the figure of War: evil, grim, nasty, come to foist the unspeakable upon the precarious balance of power. Negotiating tables, around the world, jaw with double-speak. No one wants war, but it’s here. 

Russia wants the Ukraine, badly… 

Evil fascinates, yet repels. Its illusion seems to obliterate every vestige of life, to those sitting in the malaise of our broken world, I among them.

I hungered for the fresh prose of other such worlds gripped by evil, and retrieved from my bookcase the historical novel, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), A National Book Award Finalist written by Anthony Doerr. A terse thriller set in Nazi-occupied St-Malo, France, it exposed me to Hitler’s dragnet of evil and its aftermath: resilience of spirit in restoration—But not without prodigious growth in two teenagers, the blind French Marie-Laure and the German orphan Werner, terrorized by the sinister Sergeant Major VonRumpel, gemologist for the Reich. In August 1944, Allied bombing made short shrift of the Nazi’s last holdout.

Even more compelling than when I first read this historical novel were its jigsaw-fitting word-images replete with sensory data; urgency clothed the story line such that I could not remain uninvolved. Its freshness washed my imagination and restored hope in a transcendent presence at work, even now, in our Covid-plagued world.

And the book’s title, All the Light We Cannot See, speaks to this uncanny way of knowing, accessed by its author. Such knowing dismantles stratagems of societal evil concocted by global perpetrators in underground labs and conference rooms and spread broadside by fear-mongering news outlets.

Just as Light guided Doerr’s teens through monstrous evil, we too, through heart-faith, can experience such guidance. It’s always there. We just have to be humble and listen.

Available on Amazon

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