Introduction: I have recently completed the book Ender’s Game, which is a story about a young boy who may be the messiah/commander of Earth’s forces as humans try to defeat an alien race that they do not understand. The book was fantastic, but dark. Not as dark as the recent Correlating book based on Ender’s friend Bean. Bean is a brilliant character – small and smart. He grows up on the streets of Rotterdam, which is a lawless slum where children are often left homeless and alone. Crews form for protection, and young ones die in the street without any thought or whimper. I was deeply effected by the first two chapters, and here are my immediate thoughts: (***WARNING – SPOILERS***)
This chapter struck a nerve in me. Bean, a 4 yr old on the streets of a post near-apocalypse Rotterdam, surviving, strikes me as very real. His plan to make it in the midst of starvation shows how brilliant he is. He is tested for survival, and in his own violent plan to survive (to frighten an older Bully into protecting a pack of smaller children) he ends up civilizing a band of survivors. But the band is too mean to recognize his plans and he survives but is never accepted. They survive because of him, but they can’t accept that they need him or want him. There is no love. Just practical know how. He is the forsaken master – the one who thinks things through, who depends on others to implement the plan, and who is constantly vulnerable to failure because his strength is dependant on gathering the right team.
Also, the soup kitchen where the nuns serve is a warning to all who are engaged in philanthropy. The main nun at the soup kitchen was near quitting when suddenly a Bully named Achilles began ushering in little ones ahead of the other bullies. He looked like a good kid, but he was still just surviving. The little ones had banded against him and would have killed him if he didn’t protect them. The street has its own rules that comfortable people find hard to understand. She didn’t know of the brutal behind the scenes violence that allowed the children 1st place in line, but her thoughts on it ( and the incongruency between what she thinks and what is actually happening ) underscores how we can think what we want about the motives of the people we serve – but that there is still a bigger matrix – a reality that we are not a part of and so we cannot fully comprehend. Those we serve are the only ones who can articulate it, and it is only truly understood by others who have lived in a mode of mere survival. I know that they don’t tell me everything – and I don’t know enough to serve them properly. Like in this first chapter of Enders Shadow, those who want to show love have to rely on providence, trusting that God will begin to work through the hearts, thoughts, and actions of the kids themselves while providing a safe zone and a listening (though not always understanding) ear to allow for the possibility of a greater Good. As life becomes lived together, the understandings must increase, and everyone is changed in the process.
It is a miracle that Good somehow breaks into evil situations and transforms small words and spreads. Perhaps those who have seen the most evil in the past are those who seek the greatest amount of Good.