A Short Story
I remembered her every day of my life.
Long since setting her free from me, I could, on this day, see her beneath the clouds that looked as if they’d settled upon the land.
She was decorating a cake, her brunette hair in a long pony tail, swishing back and forth as she busied herself with the task in front of her.
She had an elegant hand, fingernails always polished red.
Her face was a face of joy. Light blue eyes that portrayed kindness. She was always kind.
She liked to dance, even to the point of climbing upon the kitchen table and doing an improvised gig to whatever music might be playing. The reason, just to see me smile.
But this time in space wasn’t about cakes or dancing or kindness – it was my initial judgement.
You see, I had died just moments ago.
The spirit, or angel or maybe even the creator wasn’t condemning me. The eternals, as I thought of them, were just providing a gentle nudge to look here, or look there.
My entire life was there before me, just as I’d heard of it, but not as some whirling cascade of a movie, more set in files of images, hanging in the space where my soul was, that I was nudged to review.
I was provided the choice of what I might review first. All the images looked painful, except for one. It was that of my first love when I was sixteen years old.
I never remember seeing a sad look on her face, never seeing a disappointing nod in my direction. Each time she looked at me, she simply smiled. But then, one day, for no explainable reason, I set her free. And on that day, I saw a look of pain and misery on her face that had stayed with me each and every day of my life.
I heard a whisper from the eternals asking me why. I knew why…I was young when I first met her, and hadn’t any depth of understanding what she was all about, and for that matter, what life was all about.
I felt the slightest breeze of correction coming to me, instantly understanding that the eternals asking of ‘why’, was leading me to ponder further.
You see, I loved her, as completely as any young person could love another, no matter that we were only together for a short six months before giving her freedom from me that she didn’t want.
I was allowed to see her again beneath the clouds, preparing Christmas presents – just for me. I was allowed to feel the happiness she felt that day. It was pure love.
And then, the eternals allowed me to feel the grief she felt when I gave her that freedom that she didn’t want, shortly after that Christmas.
The sadness I felt nearly propelled me to cast my soul apart from where I was. But the eternals whispered a gentle prod to stay upon what was before me.
She was my first love, and it seemed fitting that the initial judgement of my life was centered upon a soul so kind to me, yet a soul I cast aside.
I told the eternals that my excuse for setting aside such a soul was that I was young. They gently told my soul that this is where it all started for me.
I asked, without words, just thoughts interacting between souls what that meant – this is where it all started for me.
I felt another nudge. Instantly, all images of my life was before me.
The images were many, and appeared to be most painful to view.
Nearly every illness, every heartache, every gut wrenching episode of all that I experienced after I set this soul free, was because I set a soul free from me who was sent to me to provide the love, the kindness, and solace that I would need throughout my life.
I asked the eternals why I wasn’t given the wisdom to discern the eternal gifts of love sent to me, though with an innocent and immature love, from my youth.
They responded with a viewing of the scenes from the rest of my life…being nothing more than a series of images where, time after time, I was seeking the kindness, the love, the acceptance from another that had already been given to me.
I was left to conclude of the immense and unfathomable love each of us are given by the heavens through endearing and loving souls, and sadly understanding how we ignore such offerings from these humans bringing us such love…left chasing the celestial dream of it all of what we were given when we were so young, running after it, until our dying breath….only to realize it was given to us when we may have been too young to understand, but with enough wisdom to understand this is all we need.
The eternals made a simple request before allowing me to move on to the next stage of the hereafter, asking me the following simple question….
What more could we have provided you? You recognized love…you recognized kindness…you recognized a slice of heaven, and no matter your youth, you knew of its beauty deep inside you…yet you cast it aside…and no matter how you tried to make amends for it all, deeply scared from knowing of it, you knew this is what the gods gave to you, for this is what you most deeply needed.
And after 76 trips around the sun, I took my last breath moments ago. And my first thought, my first desire, the first need I felt after my final breath, was to seek out, to find, to embrace that simple and unconditional love given to me when my journey was just beginning, some 60 years ago.
Tonight’s musical offering:
Arvo Pärt: ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ – Leonhard Roczek – Cello; Herbert Schuch – Piano
Photo by Tiko Giorgadze on Unsplash