One Step Higher: Chapter 5
THE DARK WATERS
At this we tried to draw back, but her hands were firm upon us. Inexorably she drew us down the steep bank and I comforted myself with the thought that at least we would be true students. We soon reached the ocean bed and began to move among the people there. Some were walking about. Others were lying in the mud with fast-closed eyes. Some of them were glancing about with a desperate air. Others appeared to be sunk in stony misery.
‘This place,’ said our guide, ‘is peopled by those who will not believe in a life after death. All their lives they have held the belief that the earth-life was all. Accordingly they saw no reason for striving toward self-conquest, for loving their fellow-men and seeking to soar up to their King. Now they think this is a part of dying, so they either walk about or lie down and close their eyes in an effort to speed the process.’
Silently we passed on. No-one noticed us. Now we came to a place where the darkness was greater still. Here people were continually plunging into the water from above, and then when they had reached the ocean-bed, would look around in obvious alarm.
‘These,’ said our angel sadly, ‘have been rebellious in life. At the last, they wanted forgiveness, but they would not believe it possible. Now they hope to end life quickly-but this cannot be.’
Again we passed on. Our guide pointed out to us people who had done much evil in earth-life and at the last were overcome with remorse and fear. They expected a just punishment for their sins and tried to escape it beneath the dark waters. These roamed the ocean-bed, snatching up sea-weed and winding it round their necks in a most distracted manner.
‘This great sea,’ said our guide, ‘is called the Sea of Destruction, not because any could end their lives here, but because in this sea the desire to end life is destroyed.’
‘How is it destroyed?’ I asked.
Then our guide placed her hands on our shoulders and hastened us through the waters toward a far shore. Here we saw the many angels were moving among the people, smiling and beckoning to them.
‘Can the people see the angels?’ I asked in surprise.
‘Yes, for these are beginning to think of a possibility of mercy. As soon as their thoughts lighten, so their eyes are partially unveiled. The angels do not speak to them, however, for their ears are still closed to the Heavenly language, but they constantly send up their benediction ray.’
As we watched, one of the people began to look up hopefully and then to move toward the shore. Immediately an angel hastened to take his hand, tenderly guiding him toward the dry land. Another and another followed, and our hearts were lightened.
‘What happens to them then?’ Janet asked.
‘There they learn that life cannot and will not end. When they have fully accepted this they begin to consider the life they have spent on earth and, if they are penitent and believe what we tell them of the Father’s Love (which is the same thing) they are taken through the various stages which lead to their Term of Reparation. There are some,’ our angel said sadly, ‘who still refuse to believe. These rush back into the sea again.’
‘Is there any hope for them?’ I asked.
Our guide smiled.
‘There is still the shore… Come and add the power of your prayer for we are going to charge the sea with blessing!’
Janet and I joined a company of angels who were all moving to one side. Presently we emerged from the water and climbed five steps up the flower-starred bank. We were pleased to see that the light was brighter here, and the storm-clouds were gone. We all stood together by the water’s edge, thinking clearly of the Father’s Love and then sending our Love-thought down to the ocean’s bed. How long we stood thus, I do not know, but before we left we had the happiness of seeing many step up on to dry land and into the care of the angels.