River of Time Part 6

This is probably the second-to-last post for this fanfic.  Hope you enjoy it!

We walked around the plaza for a while, eating our gelato and talking.  I hadn’t realized how long it had been since we had just talked like this, without me shutting myself up away from his affections.  It felt so nice to simply let him love me.

“We should probably go.” I said, taking a quick glance at my phone.  “We should be able to find a decent hotel to hole up in for a while.”

“But why would we shut ourselves away, when there is so much out here to explore?” Luca pleaded.  Once he had gotten over the initial shock of the strangeness of everything, he seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself.

“Don’t worry.” I said, laughing, “There will be plenty of time for exploring later.  There are some things I want to show you first.  To help get you more oriented here.”  Luca nodded, but he looked a little bummed out.  At least the concept of a movie wouldn’t be boring for him.

We managed to find a decent hotel and settle in after a fair bit of arguing on Luca’s part.  He finally agreed that we didn’t need to pay for two rooms, but I ended up compromising with a suite.

“Whose house is this?” Luca asked as I plunked my bag on the couch.

“It belongs to a company.  Like the Palazzo Publico back home.” I realized a second later what I had said, and, judging by the look on his face, Luca did as well.

“Lia, what are we doing here?” He asked, a small crease of confusion and frustration forming between his eyebrows.

“We’re here to say goodbye, Luca.” I turned away from him before he could see the tears forming in my eyes.  I felt so torn.  Here was the world that I had fallen out of, and now so easily back into.  But it felt so out of place now.  Everything here seemed so different than it did before I became a part of Luca’s world.

“I know.” Luca wrapped his strong arms around me and I buried my face in his shoulder. “I know, Lia.”  We stood like that for a long time, neither of us wanting to let go.

Finally, Luca released me and walked over to the couch.  Hesitantly, he sat down on it, pulling my phone from my bag.  He’d seen me use it all day, but this was the first time that he had touched it himself.  I sat down next to him and watched as he tried to figure it out.  Eventually, he poked the home button, lighting the screen.

“How does it do that?” Luca asked, squinting at the screen as if he could figure it out just by looking hard enough.

“To be honest, I don’t know.” I sighed, “I have a feeling you’ll be getting that answer out of me quite a bit lately.  I know it senses the heat in your fingertips, and that there are little tiny electric circuits in it, but that’s all I’ve really ever stopped to think about.”

“So you have all of this fancy… stuff, but you don’t know how any of it works?” Luca asked incredulously. “And you still trust it?”

“I guess it does seem strange when you put it that way.” I mused. “But you have to remember that I grew up with all of this.  I’ve always had it.”

“How do you survive at home?” Luca asked, “You and your family always seemed a little different, but you all manage to work there so well.”  I shrugged.  There was nothing for me to say.  All of this was exactly what I had wanted Luca to understand, but I felt like I was the one finally understanding.  Even as he said it, I began to wish it was already the end of the week so that we could just go home.  Home to the castello, my family, archery, and the authenticity of everything.

“I’m sorry, Lia.” Luca said, taking my hand, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“No, it’s fine.” I returned, pasting a smile on my face.  There was no point in coming here if I didn’t use the opportunities in front of me.  “Let’s watch a movie.”

“And what is a movie?” Luca asked, hastily placing the phone on the coffee table.

“It’s a story.  But on a screen.  You’ll see.” I left Luca to puzzle over that while I hooked my laptop to the TV.  I decided to play Tangled.  It was my favorite Disney princess movie and it would allow Luca to witness animation.  Plus, Flynn reminded me a little of Luca.

“Is the box going to start talking again?” Luca asked suspiciously, bracing himself.

“Yes,” I said “but it doesn’t know you’re there.  Think of it like a piece of parchment.  It gives off messages.” That seemed to mollify him as the movie started playing.  I snuggled up next to him and he put his arm around me.  It occurred to me that I’d never been able to watch a movie like this with someone before.  There hadn’t really been the chance.

“It looks like your drawings, Lia.  But they move.” I smiled up at Luca as he watched the animation with awe.

“It’s called animation.  Someone did draw the pictures.  Then they put them into a program to make them move.” I explained.  We fell silent for a stretch.

“She looks like you.” Luca mumbled as Rapunzel stepped into Flynn Rider’s vision.

“She has your eyes though.”

“Yeah.  But I think that’s about how you looked the first time I saw you.  Except you were holding a bow instead of a…” Luca trailed off, searching for the word.

“Frying pan.” I finished, giggling.  “I should show you how to use one sometime.”

“I thought you use it as a weapon.” Luca gestured toward the screen.

“Not exactly.  It’s usually for cooking.” I said, an idea forming in my head, “We’ll have eggs in the morning and I can show you.”  Again, we lapsed into silence as the film progressed.  Luca’s reactions to the story were just so dang cute that about halfway through I couldn’t help but grab my sketchbook out of my bag to capture his awe at this new method of storytelling.

“You know,” Luca mused as the credits began, “They are a little like us.  A girl lost in an unfamiliar place.  A dashing young hero coming to save her and finding himself completely, hopelessly in love.”

“You left out the part about said dashing young hero constantly being in trouble.” I grinned, enjoying this lighthearted banter with Luca that I had been shutting out for so long.  I was so afraid that I would fall in love with him and it turned out I already had.

“Yes, but if I’m ever in trouble, it is the Fiorentinni’s fault.” Luca said, batting his eyelashes innocently.

“Of course it is.” I smiled.

“And someday we too shall live, how do they say it?” Luca asked, leaning down to place his forehead against mine.

“Happily ever after.” I finished.

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The Beauty of Easter

Easter was a few days ago now, but the Easter season is still in full swing.  More importantly, Easter is not a one day celebration, but a daily comfort in God’s triumph for us.

In every great love story, there is always an element of unselfishness.  Love necessarily requires it.  I think we get that fact for the most part.  It makes sense if you love someone to think of them before yourself.  A mother is always concerned for her child’s safety; a husband would do anything to protect his wife; a soldier may sacrifice his life to save his comrade in arms. All of that seems, if not entirely logical, at least natural.

But we have a tendency to forget that that applies to God as well.  We think of him as someone who hands out love to his good children and sends plagues upon the naughty ones.  Like some all-powerful Santa Claus.  God is not Santa Claus.  He is a father with a heart of love overflowing for his children. We are God’s creation and he loves us unconditionally and fiercely.  He created us in his own image and gave us authority over creation.  God breathed his very life into us.  He would do anything for us.

He did everything for us.

Out of his love for us, God became a piece of his creation so that he might save it through Christ’s death and resurrection.  “Greater love has no one than this: that he laid down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  I know I’ve heard this at least a million times and maybe you have too, but I just want to go over it again.  Christ died for us.  If it weren’t for the crucifixion of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you can be certain that I would be spending eternity in hell and you would be there with me.  I’m not saying that to be offensive, but sometimes I think we forget how dire our situation is without Christ.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

We deserved eternal damnation, but Christ loved us. even seeing everything we’ve done wrong.  He doesn’t love us because of who we are, but rather in spite of it.  God has adopted us as his children rather than casting us out because of our filth.  He has washed us in the blood of Jesus, sending his own son to be tortured, maimed, and killed for us, and we are now clean in his sight.

Jesus suffered for us.  He died in the single most painful way that humanity has yet devised after being arrested, mocked, slapped, flogged, spat on, forced to carry his own cross.  He had thorns forced into his skull and his open wounds were rubbed raw against the rugged cross.  Gigantic spikes pierced his hands and feet before all of his weight was left hanging from them.  He died without dignity and without a crime so that you would not have to.

But that isn’t the end.  Thank God that isn’t the end because if it were we would have nothing to live for.  Faith would be futile and death would be inevitable.  Christ did not die to stay dead, but rather to defeat death.  To kill it.  To rise away from it and back to life.  He opened the way for us to share that life with him for eternity.  That is our hope,  That is our faith.

I know that my redeemer lives!  What comfort this sweet sentence gives. 

With confidence, we can approach God’s throne as His children because Jesus atoned for all of our wretched sins.  We are forgiven.  Joyfully we pronounce that He is risen!  He is risen indeed, Alleluia!