A few days later Rada told Alexey:
“We should go to the community today: to tell everyone that we are now — before God — husband and wife. In the community, so it is accepted. Do you agree?”
“Of course!” — he answered happily.
… Rada and Alexey went to the community settlement. In the rays of the morning sun, the forest seemed fabulously beautiful!
“We will be met, do not be surprised!”
“Be met? But how did they know?”
“I told grandfather.”
“But you did not see him! We were together all the time!”
“You know that it’s possible to see and feel the soul from a distance. And to talk — it’s possible too. You can already talk with Jesus! And you know that I often speak with my father Radomir. I have told my grandfather about us. And he has answered me: ‘If so, come to the congregation: it is necessary to declare your union before everyone!’”
Alexey embraced Rada, picked her up in his arms and kissed her:
“It seemed to me that I already knew everything about you, but every time I am amazed at what more you can do!”
* * *
All the community members from small to large went out to meet Rada and Alexey. They wished happiness, love, harmony with each other and with God!
Even the space in which they walked between the people, who greeted them, became something special: so the simple wishes of good and love, which are sincerely sent by strong souls, change the space around.
Blagoslav looked at the young couple affectionately. He spoke words that were fitting in the customs of the community.
Then he led them to the house:
“Now, this is your home!”
… There was no limit to Alexey’s surprise…
They entered the house — small but cozy, clean.
Everything inside was decorated in a special way: the house was waiting for its new owners!
… When they were alone, Rada told:
“Before, for young people who created families, it was customary to build a new house by the whole community. And we do not need to build: there are several empty houses.”
“Was it someone’s house? Did those, who lived here, die?”
“No, they did not die. It was once the house of the blacksmith Mikula. Do you remember, how he steamed you in the bathhouse?
And then he was presented with a special forge by the whole community: to make sure that there was almost no sound coming out of his work. And the upper room houses the forge. Now he lives there. He does not have a family. The house is empty. He told my grandfather that they would prepare this house for us.”
“Yes. Do you see how everything is arranged inside? They tried to bring everything, needed for us, as a gift! Here are the table, benches, different utensils, candles — everything that is useful in the household! Here are also books on the table — this is for you from grandfather!
“All the community members have prepared their gifts for us — what they could: who — the towel, who — dishes, who — other kind of utensil. My grandfather — he has brought books for you: he knows that you like to read!”
Alexey was at a loss. He had never before experienced anything like this! Almost unfamiliar people did all this for him! Of course — for Rada too, but also for him. How can he thank them all now?
Rada finished her explanation:
“We live for many generations as the community. It’s like a large and friendly family. And the customs here are good!
“Now you will have to be accepted into the community — by the common agreement. Grandpa will decide — when.”
* * *
After, Rada went to grandfather’s house.
They embraced gently.
“At last!… You love him, I see! And he loves you! Well this! Yes… it all has happened surprisingly!…
“Teach him — and on!
“I myself did not expect that a person can change so quickly!”
“Yes, I love him, grandpa!
“I used to think that it was only I who taught him. But I also learn a lot from him!
“He has the intention of writing ‘The book of religious prescriptions and laws in the state’ — for people about the righteous life before God, and about the arrangement of the church. Will you help him?”
“But who will read books now? People are illiterate!… And those, who are literate, — those are ready only to repair reprisals over dissent!”
“Jesus had charged him.
“It is possible that this is necessary only for him: to write down and at the same time comprehend, to connect everything former with everything new, which he has learned. Or maybe, it is planned for the future too… I do not know yet…
“Alexey is not used to living for himself, for happiness only his own! He lives his whole life — for God, and has dreams to help people! He considers it unfaithful — to use the new knowledge and understanding of how to live — only for himself. He cannot even think that happiness is only for himself! Because of this — I even more love him! In this, his special shining is!”
* * *
Alexey went to the hermitage to take the most necessary for life things.
He visited also the village.
After that incident with the healing of the boy Tikhon and long walks to the forest — Alexey was seen with special respect: he was considered by many almost the holy. Now the new attitude was to him completely different — in comparison with that before, when he repaired leaky roofs or climbed in draw wells to cleanse them!
Alexey was internally amazed at how everything seemed to be shaping up!
He also went to the house of Efimia. Everything was fine there! The youngest boy grew up, he did not get sick. Dunyasha and Timothy could well help their mother in everything. Much has been accomplished in their lives! And Efimia herself became calmer and more joyful. She understood that God loves them, keeps them — and now lived in gratitude to Him for all this!
Timothy and Dunyasha met Alexey — as if he was a very dear friend! Alexey was amazed: he had hardly spoken to them since that miraculous healing!
He told them that he would go away for a long time.
And then he came up with how he could get news about life in the village. He asked the children — if there would be any need or should something important happen — then to put a sign in the hollow of a big tree. Timothy knew that tree on the bend of the river. Alexey gave the children two small pebbles — one dark and the other light. If trouble or need arise, then a dark stone is to be put, and if joy is and a necessity for his presence, then it is light stone.
For children, such a game — secret and important — seemed to be very interesting, and they promised to perform!
* * *
Then Alexey once again returned to the hermitage. He went to the grave of the elder Nicholas: as if saying goodbye to the past. He sat down on a hillock, was quiet for a long time, remembering their life together for many years of his apprenticeship…
Then he began mentally, as if in a confession, to tell the elder everything about his new life…
Suddenly he saw and heard the elder Nicholas:
“Why have you come down? You now are not afraid to see Jesus! Why are you afraid of me?”
“You told me your thoughts, but did not expect to see me, right?”
“So have you heard all the confession about my life, about thoughts, dreams? Are you judging me?”
“No, my son, I have never condemned anyone, and you — even more so! No one will go your way instead of you! Perhaps, it is destined for you to do that, what you dream about — for people and for God! Maybe my earthly life was so important namely that I could prepare you for this…
“Do not be afraid! In the heart — you will always feel the Truth from God! And the courage to live according to that Truth, you always had an edge!”
… The elder Nicholas blessed Alexey, as if in the old days… Then he has disappeared…
Alexey got up and went to the community.
A new life was waiting for him — and he was ready for it.
[To be continued.]