In our last episode of this Empatharian Legend, the world had survived to 2089, and two runaway teenagers had fallen into an underground world that had fled the 2020 Pandemic and never seen light of day since then. The people in the underground world were kind and generous, and curious about the origins of the teens.

Avalon, a woman from this world, asked the big question about Earth 2089: Is it liveable now? What happened with the 2020 pandemic and the climate change that seemed about to extinguish human life on Earth?

The two boys looked at each other. The smaller boy, named Truman (Tru), answered: “We have been living in a Refuge for Children, Artie for his whole life, and me for the last 10 years. It was specially created to take care of the children because so many people perished, and they continue to die. The virus has never left us, but some people, for whatever reasons, seem to be immune. My whole family was immune because we lived by the old ways, but they all died in a tidal wave when I was 5 years old.”

“Oh, how awful that must have been for you! How did you survive such trauma- such loss?!” said Avalon.

“When I was 5, I barely survived myself, and I had no memory of the tidal wave and the aftermath. I was rescued by a soldier who nursed me back to health. He brought me to the refuge and the refuge helped me to remember and process my grief. We had Empatharian Circles, where I got support and talked it through. It was good.”

Artie interrupted, “But you asked if the Earth is liveable. It is very very hot during the days, and very very cold at nights, in most places, from what we’ve been taught. The air is breathable. There are roads. People planted many trees, but many died. The trees are in separate compounds now, and cultivated to produce oxygen. That’s why it is actually liveable on Earth. But for me, it just wasn’t liveable in the Refuge. I had to leave.”

Avalon looked at Artie, “Why, Artie? What made you need to leave the Refuge?

“Too much structure, too many rules, and it just got way boring. I’m just not a computer screen kind of guy, and most kids there just mainlined screens. It made me sick. I didn’t get into Empatharian. It was too much work. Everything was just too much work, and I didn’t want to talk about it. I needed to leave.”

“I guess you needed to come to us Artie, and guide us back up to the world on top.” said Avalon with a shrug. Artie gave her a big smile, but his face went white when he realized what she’d said. He was a guide. Oh my gosh, that was what he’d always wanted to be.

“Ah, Avalon- more than anything I’d like to be your guide, and the guide for all your people. But I cannot. I don’t know myself where to go. Tru will have to be your guide.

“Artie, you and I both can lead the people together. You are good with the how’s and when’s and I will use my inner wisdom to find the spot in the sun that we can flourish.”

“When you turn the “I” to a “We”, miracles happen. The way will be clear.” Tru smiled at his friend, and Avalon and the people exploded into “yes!” and “All right!” and “I’m in”.

And so, the people returned to the world of the sky and the sun, and the earth rejoiced, and fire was reborn in the spirit of the people, bringing their kindness and caring to the rest of the world.

But what of Empatharian, you say? Tru taught Avalon and her kin the Empatharian Movement for Peace gestural language, so that they would do well with communicating in the upper world. Even Artie got into it this time, as it was fun to show the little ones his moves. He was proud to be able to speak and to listen to all the questions. He grew in understanding and in making a stand for Peace-building. When the little ones would wander off, he would bring them back with a smile and a word hook. Yes, it was hard work, but in the end, everyone felt happier and slept really really well.

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