One Step Higher: Part II: Chapter 8
‘Now WHERE would you like to travel?’ asked the angel.
‘Is it an unpleasant sensation at first?’ I asked, doubtfully.
‘Why, you have experienced it many, many times-without even knowing!’ our teacher assured us and so we fell to talking – Janet and I – deciding where we should go.
Suddenly I remembered Marie who had been my very first friend’ in Heaven’s realm. I sent out a quick mind-message to her, asking her if she would like me to come. It happened that her mental veil was drawn but Isobel received it and she quickly told her companion. In a moment came a hearty invitation from the Hall of Children!
Janet was delighted with this arrangement so we quickly composed ourselves as we had been shown. Standing, we clasped hands, said farewell to our angel and then directed our wills…
We had been looking toward the Causeway which was scarcely visible in the half-light, Now, as we watched, the focus of our vision changed. The scene before us grew blurred, the light grew brighter and brighter. At the same time a sense of lightness came upon our bodies, followed immediately by a feeling of suddenly-increased weight. We felt as though we were travelling rapidly downwards in a lift and yet this was by no means unpleasant. I was reminded of the birds which swoop down from great heights to the surface of the sea and felt something of their exultation. All this occupied no more than a flash while the light steadily grew brighter. Then, as our vision cleared we saw that the Causeway had become a path through a vast parkland and that children were romping around our feet.
‘This reminds me of the baby-angels’ playground,’ said Janet, looking round with keen enjoyment.
‘Yes. Only these infants are not quite so plump! I expect some of those baby-angels were the little earth-guides of those children. I wonder if they ever meet?’
‘Why not ask them?’ Janet suggested.
I sat on the grass, looking invitingly at a small boy of about three. He had great eyes and tiny curls and a very wide smile! Before I could speak he had pushed me backward and with one bound was astride my chest.
‘You are a horse,’ he declared, bouncing up and down. ‘I am going to ride a long way!’
I looked up into the grey eyes. ‘What is your name?’
‘Sammy. I know what yours is.’
‘Yes. It’s “Friend”.’
‘No. My name is Bernard.’
The child stopped bouncing to look at me wonderingly.
‘It is Friend,’ he insisted. ‘My Heaven-Mummy said everyone
is a friend here.’
‘Of course,’ I said hastily. I stole a glance at Janet. She was sitting quietly beside us and she pressed upon my mind what to say. ‘Tell me about your Heaven-Mummy!’
‘Oh, she’s lovely’! he cried, his eyes shining. ‘When I came here I wanted my earth-Mummy. I looked everywhere for her but, of course, she wasn’t here because this is Heaven. Did you know that this is Heaven?’
‘Yes.’ Janet and I exchanged a quick smile. ‘Go on, Sammy.’
‘Well, I did not know that this was Heaven when I first came. Then a lady came and sat beside me and she seemed to know what I wanted without me telling her anything at all. She said that Heaven was like the big sky at night, all shiny with stars and that earth was like the room with the blind down, just before you went to sleep.’
‘That was lovely, Sammy,’ Janet murmured, and he went on, accompanying his words with a bounce:
‘That’s why I couldn’t see my Mummy-because the blind was down. But in the night when she was fast asleep. . .’ and here his voice dropped to a mysterious whisper. .. ‘my little angel flew down and drew the blind. Then he took my hand and flew right up to the stars with her! That’s why I’m not lonely for her any more. I see her often.’
‘Well, you are a lucky little boy,’ I commented, ‘having two Mummies!’
‘I am lucky because I am in Heaven,’ he said solemnly. ‘All the day my Heaven.-Mummy loves me, too. I mean, she plays with me and gives me things I want to eat and answers all my questions. That’s what I call loving.’
‘A very good description, too,’ I agreed, and Janet asked: ‘Are there a lot of Friends here?’
‘Oh yes,’ said the child, taking a fistful of my hair to act as a rein. ‘All the big people are called “Friend” except for your own Heaven-Mummy. Some of them play with us and some teach us, but best of all is our Jesus-Friend.’ He looked as though he were about to say more but in a moment his rosy lips closed into a smile. Dreamily he gazed away over my head. His bouncing ceased, his fingers fell from my hair. Looking at his rapt expression we scarcely dared to breathe. How dear he must be to his Jesus-Friend!
All this time the other children were playing nearby. They had been rolling on the grass and their merry laughter rang out constantly. In the distance we saw other groups, one small crowd enjoying a splash in the lake. It was so pleasant that we thought we could stay here for ever. Presently we heard some quick steps on the grass.
‘Bernard!’ cried Marie’s glad voice.
I rolled over, tumbling Sammy into Janet’s lap. In a moment I had Marie’s hands in mine and we were exchanging a joyful smile. She was robed in golden-yellow and her sash was almost of a bronze hue.
‘What!’ I cried, ‘have you met The One?’
‘Yes, my friend – and you brought her to me. Isobel and I are to walk together for all eternity.’
Her joy was so great that I could do nothing else but take her to Janet to be hugged! They made friends instantly and who could have resisted Marie’s radiance then? In a few moments Isobel appeared and she, too, came in for her share of congratulation. We were a very happy group as we talked over our adventures in this land of endless joy…
‘I see you have met my Heaven-son,’ Marie said at last, nodding towards Sammy.
‘Your Heaven-son?’ I queried, gazing at the little fellow. He had fallen asleep with some daisies in his hand, the dark lashes curling on the lightly-flushed cheek.
‘He is a lovely child,’ Janet said softly.
‘And you only know the littlest part of him,’ Marie exclaimed. ‘He is our treasure, is he not, Isobel?’
‘Yes.’ Isobel dropped on her knees beside him, softly stroking his curls. ‘We count it a great privilege to have the care of him. His mother idolised him before he died – indeed, she thought of little else and had no interest at all in religion. Since she has been meeting him in sleep, however, she has grown nearer and nearer to the eternal truth. Of course, she remembers no details when she wakes, but the impression remains. He talks to her of his Jesus-Friends’.
‘Shall you remain here a long time?’ I asked.
‘Only until Sammy’s mother comes,’ Marie explained. ‘Neither know it yet, but they will be together very soon. The mother’s earth-life was drawing to its end but she had only earned a place on one of the lowest planes. Sammy would have been out of her reach. But because she had brought him up to know the King of Love by reading to him books that she herself did not understand, He gave her her reward. Sammy was sent on in front to be a little messenger, to tell her all about his Jesus-Friend. Now she is almost ready and, when she comes, the first one to greet her will be her little son!’
We sat talking for a long while and our hearts were full of praise of our Beloved. Presently, without being aware of any sound or movement, I knew that He was in the Hall, coming towards us across the park. I turned to awaken Sammy, but his eyes were opened wide.
‘It is my Jesus-Friend,’ he said in an enraptured whisper.
Springing up, he raced off over the grass. We saw the beloved Figure come into view, open His arms and enfold the boy. There was a long pause. Then they came to us together.
Sammy was holding His hand and looking up adoringly. We had all made to rise but our Beloved signed to us to remain where we were. Quietly He came and sat in our midst with the child on His knee.
Without saying one word He looked at each of us with such tenderness and such infinite giving that we knew not how to hold our joy. We all pressed toward Hint, touching His robe, filling our eyes and hearts with the sight of our King.
In all that long, joyous time no word was uttered, yet He seemed to have communed with us unceasingly and each had much to treasure in his memory. When at last He rose to go, He once more signed to us to remain. Then He put Sammy into his Heaven-mother’s arms, blessed us and went on His way across the park.
‘It gives me no pain now, to see Him go,’ Marie murmured at last. ‘Is He not ever with us in our hearts?’
While we sat with them, the light drew dim. Then the focus of our vision changed and, turning, we beheld our angelguide.
‘So you have returned from your first journey!’