Oh, For Heaven's Sake!

Extensively rewritten by Freedom is Knowledge's Webmaster. The concept is from an anonymous recycled e-mail.

 

I had found himself suddenly walking with my old dog along a lonely road. While I was enjoying the fresh scenery, it suddenly occurred to me that the dog walking beside me had been dead for several years.

How could this be possible, I thought to myself. Bee has been dead for years yet here she was. Maybe I was just dreaming and would soon awake from a warm bed.

I thought about it more as we continued down the road, beginning to accept that this strange walk wasn't going to end soon, and remembering that I had been standing in the twilight of an evening on the Interstate next to my car and looking at a flat tire, when suddenly my conscienceness seemed to have been instantly lifted from my presence.

I didn't remember any violent act of dying, but with my old faithful dog, Bee, now walking beside me who had been really dead for many years, it could be the only conclusion, other than I was dreaming, as to why I was suddenly where I had never been before.

I was also amazed at how this was all so very peaceful, which was unlike me when I had encountering unexplained situations in my former life . . . if that was to be the case. I figured I would keep walking to either discover the truth or at least wake up. I now wondered with more curiosity where this old road would lead two old soul mates.

After a while I saw a tall, white stone wall that was beginning to appear, meandering in the distance to our right on the horizon.

As we continued the long upward walk on the road, I could see the emerging wall in more detail looking like it had been finished with the finest of marbles. Then further on down the way, I noticed a huge beautiful arch intersecting the wall was beginning to appear in the distance. It glowed in an unchanging daylight as if time had stood still. Our shadows had kept their same distance from us along this journey, further confirming my thoughts.

Approaching the amazing arch, I could see a magnificent gate hung within its superstructure with a shine on its surface as if it was made of Mother of Pearl. I could also just make out a bright street that shown through the bright bars whose surface gleamed as if paved in gold.

Coming closer to the gate, its huge structure became more apparent while my eye caught to the side what seemed like a greeting area. I saw a young man there wearing what looked like a pressed pinstriped suit and red tie. As we got closer the man looked up seeing us. I called out in his direction.

"Excuse me, where are we?"

"Ah, you don't know where you are?"

"No, but I think I know. Is this Heaven, sir?"

"Why yes, of course it is." He stammered the words. A strange smile ran across his face.

"Would you happen to have some water?" I asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in and I'll have some ice water brought right up to you from our service department. But you'll have to come in past the gate first."

As the young man gestured, the immense gate began to open as if having been given a silent command.

"Can my friend," my gesturing towards Bee,"come in, too?" Assuming there would be no problem, I started to walk with Bee towards the opening gate.

"Oh, I'm sorry, sir, you'll have to stop." The young, sleek individual held the palm of his hand down and out in Bee's direction. "We can't accept any of those animals here."

I thought for a moment considering his answer while looking down at my thirsty pet, her tail wagging and eyes looking forward, patiently waiting for my verbal command.

Then suddenly, and for no apparent reason, I felt the immediate need to turn around and hurry away from this place back towards the road. I did so almost like a rush and without looking back, leaving the tall thin and well-dressed man standing there alone in the distance, neither of us saying a word as I led Bee quickly away from the gate that was now closing.

Why am I doing this, I thought, not to enter Heaven? That seemed just nuts.

But I knew it was not right to leave my old friend standing there alone outside that huge impersonal gate while I had entered. I mean, we had just met again. I couldn't just leave her now that I had her back with me. And besides, there was so much peacefulness in the air as we reentering the road I could almost brush it away from my face.

After a long stroll down the old and narrowing road, we approached and passed through a beautiful tree-filled forest. A layer of misty mountains could be seen in the distance through dancing leaves of the trees as if rejoicing from a summer's turn in the wind. Further down the road thinned even more, finally merging onto a dirt surface.

Walking on, I wondered where this extended path would lead us, dust shirred up in the air as our tired heavy feet and paws scrapped along the surface of road. I noticed ahead that the road was going to soon pass an old rusty farm gate. As my walk led me closer to it, I saw that the gate had a variety of weeds and field flowers growing up all around it, signaling to me it obviously hadn't been closed for many years.

It was in turn connected to an old wooden fence, which I could have easily climbed over, yet the gate's opening quickly drew us in closer, then guided us through its small expanse as if floating.

The soft-green grass found beyond the gate's guarded area ushered in a new sweet smell that had made me want to instinctively remove my tired shoes. Bee already had gone on ahead to roll over and over again on the trimmed-like lawn that seemed to go on forever. I left Bee to her joy and sat down next to a spreading shade tree. There I finally removed my shoes and watched Bee as if she had found Heaven. As I closed my eyes for a moment, I sensed a living entity nearby.

"Excuse me!" I called as I looked up to see an older bearded man in the distance reading a small book. "Do you know where I can find some water?"

"Yeah, sure enough, partner. There's an old mechanical pump somewhere over there."

He was a plump cherry-cheeked individual layered in old farm clothes looking like he had just finished his chores and resting before moving on to feed the stock. He then pointed to a place that couldn't have been seen from outside the old gate.

"Walk on over there. You find what you're looking for." He pointed his free hand to a place where I could just barely see the top of a shape that looked like an old friendly country hand pump.

"How about my friend over there?" I gestured to my old pet, who was still romping in the grass.

"There should be an old bowl there near the pump."

As Bee and I walked closer to the water source, sure enough there was an old white glass bowl lying on the grass at an angle and beside the old pump, the bowl obviously having served many a visitor in its day.

I filled the bowl and placed it in front of Bee, who had walked over to me. I then took a long drink himself, pumping the old worn handle up and down again and again with my arm. I washed my face with the other hand, the fresh cool water leaping out of the end of the worn spout with my every movement, Bee also lapping up the cold clear liquid in her bowl and looking to me for more.

When we were both filled with the refreshment, I walked back towards the old rosy man, who was himself now sitting under a tree as if waiting for us to return.

"What do you call this place?" I inquired sitting down on a nearby rustic bench.

"Don't you know? This is Heaven." He had answered in a soft voice while only looking up for a moment, then continuing to read his book. I noticed the pages had been obviously well read many times.

"Well, that's confusing," I said looking back towards the old open gate. "The other man way back down the road near that huge arch passed the forest said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the golden street and pearl-like gates?" The old man had a twist in his face and looked up at me me again. "That's not Heaven. That's a place we refer to as the city on a hill, others even calling it Hell."

Startled, I thought for a moment.

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use Heaven's name like that?" I said as I scratched Bee behind her ear, her seeming more content than ever.

"Oh no. I can see how you might think so. But their purpose is to screen out folks like you who refuse to leave their best friend behind, deciding instead to continue on down the road to where it leads them. All we have to do is greet those that show up at our gate. All who come, therefore, come by having made a simple decision to stay with the one they loved and to ignore the enticement of the glitter."

I sat there for a second and thought about what I was hearing from the old while looking across the green meadows whose sweetness ran up to an awaiting lush mountain setting with layers that seemed to go on forever.

I realized when you're in Heaven you really don't have to ask, do you?

Looking down at Bee, who seemed to have already accepted the answer to my question, I thought, so is this the peace that is supposed to pass understanding.

"How about you, Bee? How do you feel about all this?"

I asked out loud with an intent as if my old friend really could answer me, my hand now running up and down her soft but firm neck. She didn't move under the pressure, showing a comfort of being touched by an old forgotten friend from another world. Everything suddenly seemed to so right.

After a few moments, Bee looked up at me as if ready to answer, yet knowing in her God-given instinct she really did have an eternity to think about it.


Extensively rewritten by Freedom is Knowledge's Webmaster, the concept from an anonymous recycled e-mail.

Click here to see original story

Editor's note:

Bee was an actual Beagle given to me by college friends when a tiny pup that was found alone on the side of the road in the deep woods at night near Murray, Kentucky. A year later she was hit by a car outside my living quarters when I was on vacation from college. But a neighbor said he saw her move after lying on the side of the road for two days, giving her water and food.

In her life time, Bee had even mated with a German Shepherd, giving birth to six German Shepard pups, one stolen from our back yard a few months later. After that event, she developed a serious limp.

Bee was with me for over a decade. When she could no longer use her rear legs, falling down too many times while trying to climb stairs,. my fear was that she would break her neck or suffer more damage to her spine.

I put her to sleep after being with her for 13 years, Bee dying in my arms in the vet's office. The college students who had tossed her into my college residence years before had said, "Here's a dog for you. We named her Beatrice. You can call her Bee." And so it was.

 

 

"Freedom is Knowledge"