Death and Life of a Soldier: 4
CHAPTER FOUR “GREAT TIMES”
Gordon rose from the seat and stood looking out over the park. “Want to meet some of the fellows now?”
Reg sprang to his feet. “May I really? Somehow I think this will all seem proved when I have spoken to the others. Just now, it is half a dream.”
“A dream that is going to last a long, long time,” Gordon agreed. You are only on the fringe of it now, but how happy you are going to be when you know.”
They began to walk quickly along the path and Reg silently absorbed his friend’s thought, being still unconscious of this Heavenly power. He realised that Gordon spoke of “knowing” things that were beyond his perception at the time, but that as he grew, he would come to “know” more and more wonders, and sink deeper and deeper into divine truths.
“One day the Father will not seem far away,” Gordon summed it all up quietly, “and you would not exchange your Heavenly home for all the earthly pleasures that there are.”
Reg gave him a quick smile. “I believe you are right! Already I feel different, somehow”
“You look it, too!”
“Why. You don’t look weary any more, or half starved. You look young and fit and happy … Hallo!” he broke off.
“Here’s Garth. And there’s Johnnie and George.” The three lads came running up, flushed and laughing.
“Gordon !” one of them cried, “Where have you been all this time?” The tall, dark man reached out a hand and clasped Gordon’s shoulder in a friendly gripand then stared. “Not PurpleGowned already, old man?”
“Yes.” There was a little pause, while the others preserved a deferential silence. They seemed to have withdrawn a little in awe of him, so Gordon said quickly: “Well, it is good to be together again! Here, pay your respects to Reg. He’s only just arrived.”
“Welcome, boy! I say, we’ll have great times. Hope it wasn’t too bad after we went.”
Reg greeted two of the men warmly, but drew back in confusion from the other. “What is the matter?” Gordon asked. “Come, this won’t do.”
“George never did like me,” Reg muttered. At this the young man laughed.
“Why, I thought you did not like me!”
“You did?” The two men looked at one another, then began to smile.
“Guess I thought you were the best shot in our unit,” George said quietly.
“And I have never seen anyone run like you did when you picked up that wounded chap under fire!” They both began to laugh, then, and stepped forward to exchange a friendly clasp.
“What fools we’ve been!” said George. “Often and often I wanted to talk to you, but you looked so cold and unfriendly”
“And I thought you were too proud even to notice my existence half the time!” Laughing, the little group walked on, until Gordon asked:
“I last saw him on the way to the Hall of Adventure,” said Garth. “There was a chap he had to meet there… I came here to offer my services to a woman I had treated rather shabbily at home. I’m glad that stain is gone, anyway.”
“What are you talking about?” Reg queried. The other men exchanged a glance.
“Isn’t he on the Term of Reparation? “Johnnie asked.
“Not started yet,” explained Gordon.
“What is all this mystery?” Reg broke in. The others laughed.
“You’ll know soon enough! Just make the most of this little party, now, for we may have to break up very soon.”
“What! Won’t I see you any more?”
“Oh yes. Just send out a thought to any one of us, and if we are not so busy we cannot possibly get away, we will come to you at once.”
“A thought! Can you get thoughts here?”
Johnnie fell in step beside him, saying eagerly, “It’s simply great! Any information you want comes to you by just thinking about it. It is called ‘reaching out’. If you are ready for it, you can receive it easily, but, of course, if it is beyond your understanding, it just doesn’t seem to be there. When you want to be alone in your thoughts, you just close uplike an oyster, you know! It is called ‘drawing the mental veil.'” Reg was much impressed.
“Then no one is cut off from anyone else ever even if they are apart?
“No. Everyone is in touch, if they want to be.”
“Well, that is good news! One of the things I have dreaded, is loneliness.”
“Loneliness ! “Johnnie laughed. “There is no such thing here only, perhaps, in the Hall of Adventure.”
“What is that? Sounds interesting
Johnnie turned to Garth. “Here, you must answer that one. You are the only one who has been there, as yet.”
Garth strode along in the centre of the group.
“It is the place where people go who have always had the spirit of adventure on earth. There is every imaginable sport for them there, and when they grow tired of that, there are mountains which they can climb alone, if they wish, and rivers to cross; huge deserts, too
It is the only place where the weather changes. You may get terrific storms, gales or floods, intense heat or cold !”
“What a queer taste,” George commented, adding thoughtfully, “Yet people do journey thousands of earth miles just to battle with those very conditions”
“But what is the use of it? “Reg interrupted.
“What is gained?” You still have your earthstandards, young man,” Gordon put in, giving his shoulder an affectionate squeeze. “You see, we do not live to gain any praise or prizewe live to grow, learn and ‘climb’. If a man has a strong desire still unfulfilled, he is not entirely free to learn, because we are fastened to our wishes. So Heaven is the fulfilment of our wishes and this sets us free for greater learning.”
“I see,” Reg said slowly. “That is very wise.”
“Well, there is another lesson learned that Heaven is ruled by wisdom!” Gordon exclaimed, adding, “Now would you like to meet the rest of our mates the ones we left behind? “