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A Walk in the Woods

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Wing Chun: C | Grade It Now!
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A Walk in the Woods

Church exterior. Luka walks up carrying a couple of medical bags -- newfangled ones that look like gym bags. The woman's voice is still cooing.

Inside, he sees parishioners getting into the pews; mass hasn't started yet. Luka wends his way down the side aisle and is pointed presumably toward Bishop Cromwell (the scene is silent but for the music, you see).

Luka taps on the door of a vestry and then enters, seeing Bishop Cromwell crumpled in a chair, looking pretty ravaged. Luka rushes toward him, hissing, "Dammit!" Bishop Cromwell weakly insists, "I'm okay!" Luka puts an oxygen tube in his nose and asks how long he's been having trouble breathing. Bishop Cromwell lies, "I'm...just...gathering my strength." Luka tells Bishop Cromwell that he has to go to the hospital. Bishop Cromwell murmurs, "It's pretty...isn't it. The snow? So much beauty. Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in." Except, not the last part. Luka urgently asks for the phone, so that he can call an ambulance. Bishop Cromwell asks him not to: "I only need a minute." Luka insists, "You're dying!" "Evidently," Bishop Cromwell says quietly. Luka has no response to what amounts to "duh," so he shuts up. Bishop Cromwell monologues:

As I was sitting here, I was reminded of the night I chose to become a priest. I'd been struggling with it for a long time -- several years. Anyway, that night, I couldn't sleep, so I got up and went out for a walk in the woods, behind my father's house. It was snowing, like it is now. I don't have any idea how long I walked, but at a certain point, I suddenly realized I didn't know which way to go! I'd gotten lost. I was frightened. As I looked up into that dark night, He came to me. I saw all those millions of snowflakes drifting down toward me. So still. So peaceful! Perfect. And I was filled with the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, like pouring wine into an empty glass. I'm afraid I may have wasted my life. For some reason I never accomplished the things I should've -- what God wanted of me. And now I'm frightened...[starts to cry] I'm afraid of dying. There. I said it. I am afraid to die.

My dad was a Jesuit; he was about to be ordained when he met my mom and decided to marry her instead. I just realized, reading the above, that I've never asked him under what circumstances he received his vocation to enter the priesthood. I probably should do that; now I'm curious. Luka responds to this close-up view of Bishop Cromwell's soul by repeating, "You have to go to the hospital," but with a lot less conviction than before. Bishop Cromwell starts to recite the twenty-third psalm (you know, "The Lord is my shepherd") when Fr. Lackey approaches, gowned for mass, and asks, "Is he all right?" Simultaneously, Bishop Cromwell says, "Yes," and Luka says, "No." Fr. Lackey says, "The procession is forming. What should I tell them?" Luka watches Bishop Cromwell, who, after a long pause, says, "Tell them I think I have to skip the processional." Luka holds back tears of his own.

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