The nun's chorus echoed throughout the chapel. All rose from bended knee and prayer. Master Alex, now Brother Alex, had donned the robes of the monk and pilgrim. He turned from the alter to face the congregation; and with the Bishop's blessing, walked from the alter toward the heavy oak doors and into the January day.
Our band of Troubadours gathered around the ox cart to bid our fellow Troubadour a final adieu. Brother Alex warmly shook each hand and offered words of encouragement and comfort.
"You shall do fine. My parting may be noticed, but only momentarily, like a feather drifting to the Earth. Master Matthew was an able disciple and I trust you in his great care." Brother Alex put his hand on Master Matthew's shoulder as if bestowing his powers upon him.
Master Matthew spoke. "I shall do my best to fill your place, but may I speak for all and repeat that you will be missed."
"Then that sorrow in departure is a testament to the friends and good fellows I leave behind. And now I must bid adieu. It is a long journey to Penn's Land and there is much work to do." Alex jumped into the cart. His brown woolen robes looked odd and uncomfortable upon his body. He sat in the straw, and with cross in hand, offered a friar's blessing to his fellow Troubadours.
"A final gift to you," I stepping from the gathering when his blessing was complete and placed a parchment into his hand. "May this prayer keep you in His care when the days are at their darkest. Be safe Brother, for the world outside these gates can be as dangerous as they are marvelous."
"I shall. And now Goodbye." Brother Alex tapped the shoulder of the carts man. The cart lurched forward, it's wheels rattled on the cobblestone as it turned and then disappeared through the castle's gate. Brother Alex unrolled the parchment and read.
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
Sir Francis Drake (1577)
Brother Alex rolled the parchment and carefully put it into his knapsack. He stretched out upon the straw and looked into the deep blue of God's sky.
"There be a blanket beneath the staw if needed Brother," the carts man said as he shifted his weight on the bench. It would be a long trek to the river.
"I thank you, but the day is warm." There was a pause. Brother Alex sat up and watched a group of children playing near a grouping of thatched huts beside the road. He remembered his time on stage bringing story and music to hundreds of children like them from one of the of the Kingdom to the other.
"It is a good day for a journey, is it not?" Brother Alex spoke with contentment.
"That it is Brother. That it is," the cartsman replied.
On Wednesday, Alex Anderson enters the MTC in Provo to train to serve as an LDS missionary in Pennsylvania. Alex started at the Space Center as a young teenager, following in his older brother's footsteps. He quickly found his niche in the Programming Guild. From there he ventured into Flight Director. He became the Phoenix Set Director when Megan Warner left to serve an LDS mission in South Korea.
Alex's handiwork can be found on the computer screens in the Magellan, Phoenix, Galileo and Odyssey. He was a dedicated and devoted member of our staff. We all wish him the best as he serves his church on this two year mission.
Mr. W. and the rest of "The Troubadours".