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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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.