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Letters from the Commander

To my favorite ones, sons and daughters in the Passerby Army. I hope that these journal entries from the past decade of war with the Dread Army make it back to you intact. Grace and peace till we meet again. Yours faithfully, The Commander.

6.12.00 Beautiful Bride
The Passerby Armyís mission is to bring peace, faith, hope, freedom and above all, love to the entire world. Our mantra is "Memento Mori". These words remind us that our mission is urgent, and that when death comes to anyone, at 18 or 80, a mortal life proves to be short. We are reminded by Memento Mori to never waste a moment without advancing the mission. The fate of our children and grandchildren depends on how we use the time we are given. At a recent gathering, my heart broke as I looked over the Passerby Army. These men and women were ready to live and die for love, yet somehow they had gone from fighting the enemy to bickering and fighting each other. I thought through what I could say to encourage them again. With all the strength of my voice and my heart, I commanded: "Unified diversity! Functioning as one body..."

11.4.00 Again
As I looked over the battlefield today, I was reminded of what we were fighting for. I thought of all of my loved ones. When I started thinking about my daughter, I was overwhelmed. She can be so much like me...the way her heart breaks with every injustice. She prays like everything depends on God, but then lives like it all depends on her. Even though sheís strong, there are times when she tries to carry all the weight of the world on her own and she ends up crushed, brought to her knees. As she cries out for relief, she will finally let go, surrendering all of the burden by believing that everything has a purpose and will work out for good... Itís only here that she finds the air to breathe again. I wish she would come to this place quicker sometimes. So often she feels guilty for not being able to hold it all herself, but if she only knew how wonderful she is. Iíve written several times to remind her of these things, but I havenít gotten a response in a month.

3.16.01 Chasm
While the enemy was losing the battle today, they cried out to us, "Memento Mori, we are human too! We are in pain and we are dying!". I answered them, hoping they would listen, "Break off your pact with the Dread Army! That is what is killing you! Walk away and take your life back! I know itís all youíve ever known, and walking away with leave a wound, but it will heal! When it does, do not enter into your pact with the vultures again! You donít have to be slaves to death! Weíve come to bring the truth of freedom! You were meant to be free!" But they wouldnít listen and kept cryng out, "Please give me something! Iím so thirsty." I tried again with more urgency. "If you die here this way, you will have wasted your life on death and you will have never lived! Once you die here, the chasm will be fixed and you can never undo it. Turn from death and drink this life-giving water we are offering you!" The battle continued to rage, some turning and joining the Passerby Army, others dying.

2.15.02 Missing
Today I finally heard back from my daughter. Her letter was so sad. She said she no longer believed in love and was thinking of joining the Dread Army. She wrote, "Down here, love wasnít meant to be for me. All is vanity underneath the sun." Feeling defeated, I prayed and wept bitterly for what felt like hours. I cried out, "Why am I here fighting to bring love to the earth, when my own daughter doesnít believe in it anymore?" Afterwards, I was comforted to remember that everyone who seeks the truth with all their heart will find it. Love is true. My daughter will know love. All IS vanity underneath the sun. Everything and everyone on earth will leave us empty and unfulfilled, because there is only one love. She was already finding truth in her searching.

3:45am
Tonight, I canít seem to get my daughters words out of my head...
"All is vanity underneath the sun..."

6.1.02 This Close
I had two nightmares last night. In the first, I dreamed that I was in a huge crowd of people. We were all dead, but we pretended that we still lived. We did everything we could to experience the highest heights that life here has to offer, but we all started to feel a vacuum growing within our souls. All happiness was only as brief as a snowflake hitting a warm tongue. It began to drive us insane. I realized I was fighting for the Dread Army. All of a sudden a man appeared in the sky and we were all watching him. He was more alive than any of us had ever been and it made us all want to live. From the depth of every heart we began screaming in unison, "I donít know who I am anymore! Not once in life have I been real, but Iíve never felt this close before! Iíve been walking dead, watching you, long enough to know I canít go on!" I woke up devastated at having felt the emptiness of our enemies. I love them all.

Later that night I dreamed fire fell from the sky. I remembered prophecies Iíd heard about hell, ones Iíd scoffed at. I never wanted to believe in it, but somewhere in the back of my heart, I worried the prophecies might be true. Here in my dream, I saw the reality of it. This is the fate of our world without love, and so many people I love were lost in the midst of this fire. Again I woke up weeping at the potential fate of our enemies. I love them all so much.

3.15.03 The Kind
The Dread Army is very rich. To them, everything has a price, even their own souls. Their people fall madly in love with money and rob their minds to serve her. I watched one of our finest soldiers fall into her trap, and he and his wife joined the Dread Army. His family suffered severe emotional damage because of his betrayal. The Dread Army mutilated him and he lost an arm. Ten months later he came back to the Passerby Army with such humility, begging to be a servant...to simply clean our toilets and be among us. We nursed his wounds, gave him a clean uniform and made him a captain. He is now in charge of a thousand men. Today he is a remarkably loyal brother and has kept many men from falling to the allure of money and ending up toiling in the ranks of the Dread Army.

4.3.03 In the Dark
Many of my soldiers donít know this, but I grew up in the Dread Army and was a slave to death as a young man. The Dread Army lives in the dark, so thatís where I lived when I was with them. I loved the darkness because I could hide all my flaws there. I never realized that darkness is a deceptive enemy. Everyone in the Dread Army is afraid of silence, so they fill every moment with empty, idle words. They all lie, so you can never truly know the genuine identity of a Dread Army solider. One night, I was spying on Passerby territory when I was captured and brought before the King of the Passerby Army. At the foot of His throne, where I laid trembling on the ground, was the most brilliant light Iíd ever seen. There was no darkness to hide in, and for the first time I saw all that I really was. The silence in this place was immense because in the light of the King, there is nothing to say...only things to realize. I had been an enemy of this powerful King all my life and if He had sentenced me to death right there, it would have been right...it would have been justice. Amidst these heavy thoughts, I was startled to feel the Kingís hand under my chin as he leaned down and lifted my face to his own. He spoke with a love Iíd never known before, saying, "We only want voluntary allegiance in the Passerby Army. If you stay here, you will be changed and it will feel like the old you has died, or...you may remain in the darkness as a slave. Either way, I love you, my son. You are free to choose."

As I left to go back to the Dread Army camp, I questioned everything Iíd ever known. I realized in the face of the Kingís love that all my love was selfish and not really love at all. It was true that the only way for me to be changed would be for the King to kill who I had become and raise me up to live again, making me new.

9.5.03 Set Apart This Dream
Remembering my days in the Dread Army gives me such an urgency to keep my daughter from joining them. I think often about when she was a baby. Every night I would tell her that she was beautiful and precious. I wanted to make sure she knew that she was worth more than anything in the world. I would tell her about the King of the Passerby Army and that He ruled everything, including her. I would tell her that since He is the King and a father to all, that she is a true princess. I used to dream of her growing up into a beautiful, wise woman that would change the world. I used to pray that over her, pleading for her to be spared from the things that every other man and woman in our family had to go through.

However, with all the potential that our free will gives us to freely love, we also must face the risk that our free will gives us the same potential to freely hate. My worst fears were realized when we found that she had been abused by a man who used his free will to try and destroy her. Her desire to join the Dread Army was simply the result of her having been hurt in the most unjust way possible. So my prayer for her as a baby was the one I prayed for her tonight, to set apart this dream.

1.23.04 Swept Away
I miss my daughter so much. I havenít heard from her in so long. Tonight, as I prayed for my daughterís searching to turn into glory, it gave me hope to remember my own time of searching and finding truth. The day after my capture and release from the Passerby King, I went to our morning meeting where the Dread Army commander was speaking as usual. She was a beautiful woman who always seemed to encourage us in our mission with eloquence and passion, but on this particular day, I began to see holes in her speech. Evil fell from her pretty mouth, wrapped in her classic voice. She was angelic in her syntax, but demonic in her motive. In the middle of her speech, she nodded to a man in the back and I turned to see him lean down and walk quickly from the room. Just then, an explosion went off and 50 people were killed instantly. The Dread Army commander yelled, "Help your brothers! The Passerby Army is full of murderers! Avenge your brothers!" As everyone turned to assist the wounded, I looked back at the commander, and saw her begin to smile. As she scanned the room with pleasure, her eyes fell on me and her smile vanished. Her face filled with hatred and my heart raged against her. I made my way to the stage and began to yell so the soldiers could hear what our commander had done. Everyone was silent as we argued and I picked apart her lies. I told the Dread Army about my meeting with the King of the Passerby Army and how much love heíd show me. Hundreds of them began to cry. She ordered me to be executed on the spot, but the guards were all weeping. I asked if anyone wanted to join the Passerby Army with me and thousands of open hands went up. She was outnumbered and slipped away before we could seize her.

10.1.04 Tiny Heart
After more than 2 years of writing letters to my daughter and getting no response, I tried one last time.

Favorite One,
I love you so much. I miss you desperately. I know you are searching for truth and your honest in the last letter you wrote was beautiful. You are growing up and you need to learn for yourself what you believe and why. This is a good thing even though it can be confusing at times. Donít stop questioning, my love, and hear me when I tell you how I see it. I believe you feel like something is missing inside because you were created to commune with our King, the leader of the Passerby Army. He will show you what it means to truly be loved and will teach you how to love others. You arenít listening or searching for Him and you will feel empty until you do. The King is known for singing over his children and if you listen to Him tonight, you will hear Him say:

"Tiny heart, stuck inside yourself, when will you open up for me? I love you and I want to meet you again, before one of us must go. Your lips touched every hand but mine. When will you get back to me? Tiny heart, youíre not by yourself. When will you recognize the beat of my own heart grieving in your hand? You crush me when you run that way. You will never know what you have done to me, and you will never know losing love from me, and you will never know a single day alone. If you choose me, Iím waiting for you...Always waiting."

You are my favorite. I love you always.

7.13.07 Treasure
When my daughter received my letter, she decided to look to the King to learn about love like I encouraged her to. She fell deeply in love with what she found, and the change in her was amazing. When I asked her about any romance in her life, she said that she had asked the King to pick her husband. She explained that she was going to stay asleep in regard to her romance until the King of Love itself decided to wake her. A year later, she revealed that the King came to her to say that it was almost time to arise for a new morning. Sure enough, He woke her up and introduced her to a valiant young solider of the Kingís. Another year later, she wrote me, saying that this man had asked her to be his bride. When she said yes, he kissed her for the first time. She said, "That night I felt like I had become something...treasured...different." She had never felt anything more passionate in all her life than the deep slow burn of waiting on him to lead her. The wedding was glorious.

6.5.08 Circle
Our most loyal captain that we put in charge of a thousand men was replaced today. He will be greatly missed. He was the strongest, most loving, selfless and courageous man any of us had every known and his wife was a wonderful woman. The commander loved her desperately. She was his life, but she had come from a very dark past, and had been hurt so much that she was never able to fully trust him.

One day the captain left to go on a mission. His wife was so sure that he was meeting another woman that she followed him. He settled into his hiding spot, and after a moment of silence, she appeared before him with tears streaming down her face. "I know you are meeting another woman!" She screamed, "Where is she?!! I hate you! You lie to me all the time! I hope you die out here! I know you have had an affair, so guess what? I have had an affair too! I never want to see you again!" He was horrified and tried to quiet her, but it was too late. She began to flee and was nearly out of the captainís sight when a Dread Army soldier appeared and seized her. The solider threw her to the ground and as she lay there with a gun pointed at her, she realized that her husband wasnít meeting anyone. Remorse overwhelmed her just as she heard rapidly approaching footsteps and then her husbandís voice shout, "Let her go! Take me, but let her go!" The soldier looked at our captain, scanned his uniform, and fear flashed across his face. He recognized him and put the gun closer to the woman, shouting, "Donít come any closer!" The Passerby Army captain stopped and spoke softly. "Please, take me, but let her go. My life in exchange for hers. Please." The solider asked in disbelief, "But you are a captain! Why would you die for this woman?" The man looked at his wife and said with tears flowing down his face, "Because I love her more than my own life." The Dread Army solider threw back his head and laughed. "Woman, get out of here!!" he commanded. When she walked far enough away for the soldier to be satisfied, she turned and saw her husband killed in her place. For the first time in her life, she knew that she was loved. Her cold heart was melted and she wept for 7 days without eating. She got up and went before the Passerby Army and told them all that had happened, asking to be punished with justice. A Passerby Army soldier went and stood beside her to address his fellow troops. "Our captain loved us. He lived for this mission, but he would do anything this woman asked. He loved her enough to die for her, so he must have believed in her ability to do greater things that he himself did while he was here with us. She has already proven that she is just by her request to bring justice on herself. I say that we make her our new captain!" The crowd was in unison. "Long live our new captain!"

She is proving to be our best captain yet.

12.3.08 Arise
This will be the last letter that I will be able to write to my sons and daughters before we enter by the fiercest battle this conflict has seen.

Dearest children, my favorite ones,

You are mature now and you can handle hearing about the things Iím going to tell you, so brace yourself and be strong. Many in the Passerby Army have been injured, killed or captured, but none of us have surrendered to the Dread Army! I believe that we have already won as it has been prophesied, so donít lose heart! I know that everything good around you seems to be lost, but please stand firm! We have all committed to give our lives to bring peace, faith, hope, freedom and above all love to the world because we believe in love, above all things! Donít give up on our world! It has enough hope in it to die for! If I do die here, it is so others will live. Remember, a seed canít become a seed bearing, life-giving tree unless it first dies and is planted in the ground. Always know that whether I love or die, you have been called to fulfill your purpose and further our mission! Iíve watched you grow together as a family and you are more selfless now than you have ever been. Because of this, your heart is now right for reflecting glory. Memento Mori, my favorite ones, because your time on this earth is brief. Arise and be all that you dream. Encourage each other and remember to sing over each other, over your family, and over yourself, "Arise and be all that you dream!"
Love eternally,
The Commander

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