It was the deep sense of calm and pleasure, though, that really drew a lingering breath. He breathed in peace. He exhaled frustration, anxiety, and dissappointment. He breathed again. Repeating this natural involuntary sequence, until after just a moment or two, he was now exhaling peace.
The slight breeze that rustled his sandy hair also carried within it the smell of the grasses from the meadow where he stood. The trees ahead were his target. But, to get there he would have to cross the field. It would be a pleasantly short walk. His course would be along a well worn path that cut through calf high grasses. It also seemed to take in a gradual increase in elevation as it drew toward the trees.
It was obvious that others had made the same trek. The grass was matted down just enough to establish the narrow way. But, as it twisted and curved in it’s course; there were times that it looked from certian vantage points, to almost seemed to dissappear within the field itself.
” I can’t believe this view. It’s just incredible! I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything like this since the hike in British Columbia.. what? something like ten years ago? But, even that couldn’t compare to this..” he drew a breathe. Jeff bathed in the scene that he was beholding. His avid love of hiking had taken him to many places in his life similar to this one, yet in his current estimation, this was by far the best. ” I would have thought that I’d be just alittle winded by now due to the elevation?” he mused. ” I ‘d guessed that from the height of the peaks that surround the trees, and the environment that’s all around, I’d have hit the 4800 or 5000 foot level by now?” he puzzled. ” But either the caramel macchiato that I drank this morning is working overtime, or I’m in better shape than I thought? Maybe now that I am using that workout station that I got for Christmas, I am getting more energy…. Man, this is a beautiful place” escaped the thought.
The sun was warm overhead, high in the azure blue sky. He just stood there for a moment. His arms slack at his sides, his face elevated, drinking in both the heat and the light that radiated from the luminous orb. ” I really don’t know how it can get much better than this..”his mind whispered. ” I just wish that Sharon were here to enjoy it with me, then that would truly make it priceless..”. His wife of 20 years, enjoyed both his company and his sporadic journeys to secluded remote places, too. They had found that for the most part they could not be apart for too long. Sometimes though, life’s unexpected interuptions had put them into situations where that was inevitable.
“ It doesn’t get much better than this!” came a strong young voice from the path behind, that startled him out of his contemplation. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. But, I thought that it would have been better to announce my approaching you that way. Than to just come up and tap you on the shoulder” he said with a smile. ” You know a guy could get a quick punch in the gut or face by doing something like that out of the blue”, he offered with a slight laugh.
He thrust out his hand to Jeff. Jeff shook his hand with a slighly shocked, but cordial response. ” I’m sorry, I thought that I was the only one out here, no offense..” ” None taken”, said the young man. ” But, as you can see by the look of the path there have been others who have come through before us, and I am sure that others will find this place too!” Now, fully out of his meditative repose, Jeff responded ” I guess that I was just so caught up in the whole experience, that I just wasn’t thinking about others… you know?”
” Yeah, it kind of touches you in that way” the man reaffirmed. “But, it could get kind of lonely if you spent too much time by yourself, even up here, as beautiful as it is…” he added. ” I guess you’re right”, Jeff said, ” It’s just that the surroundings are so awe inspiring.. the peace.. I just haven’t been there for awhile. Life just has a way of stealing it from you. It doesn’t seem quite right, you know? But, I guess it is like what they all say, ‘ If you’re handed a bunch of lemons, just make some lemonade, Right?’ “ Then for the first time since he had begun the hike, Jeff felt the twinge of his old life partner, anxiety.
The young man could see the shadow of something not in tune with the harmony all around them, fall over Jeff’s face. The stranger felt a compulsion to chase it away from his newfound friend. A feeling akin to the urge that you get to shoo away a pesky fly that has invaded your space.
” You know Jeff, one of the things that I like most about being here is that it gave me the opportunity to meet you” the young man volunteered. Jeff’s facial expression went from being slighly forlorn, to being overtaken by a quizzical look. ” How did you know my name?” he said, ” and as a matter of fact, I don’t believe that you ever told me yours?” The young man reached out his hand once as if to introduce himself all over again. Firmly grasping Jeff’s hand, he said, ” What do you think my name is?” With a slow hestitation, and not quite knowing where it was coming from, he offered, ” I think that your name is..Jeremy..yes, I think that your name is Jeremy!…”. The utterance of the name, and the inner confidence that it was right, solidified in his soul. ” The young man breathed his response with a yearning that came from deep within, ” Thank you, Dad, I have been waiting for this moment for a long, long time.”
The grip of their hands was firm, but not in a competeitive way. One where you hold the hand of another to draw from them both comfort and life. There was an unmistakeable connection, a bond…love. Then a searing pain tore through Jeff’s body as if he were being hit by a wave of liquid heat. Their grip momentarily tightened, and then released. ” Stay on the path Dad, it’s narrow, but it was bought and paid for with a heavy price. It’s for you to walk on, Dad, and to enjoy it’s pleasures and peace”, the voice of Jeremy fading. It seemed to echo through Jeff’s mind as the trees, meadow, and sky turned into an all encompassing blinding whiteness. The visual change being accompanied by a dull, but chronic pain that seemed to permeate his torso and legs.
Sharon was holding Jeff’s hand, while sitting beside his hospital bed. The car that had hit him hadn’t seen his misstep off the curb outside the Starbucks on State Street. Luckily for Jeff, the traffic was heavier than usual that morning. So many cars on the street had slowed the flow and speed of each individual car. So, it was more the fall onto the hard pavement and hitting his head on the street that did most of the immediate damage. He had sustained some mild head injuries, bruised ribcage, and a broken leg. But, he was alive, and for that they were both very thankful.
Sharon shook out of her nap as Jeff squeezed her hand. It was the first real response form him since she had initally grapped it some 6 hours ago. She turned to see his blue eyes. They were bright, open, and focused. He was trying to communicate. She moved closer to him, drawing her face level with his own.
” I saw him today”, he said faintly. ” Saw who?” she calmly asked, concealing the overwhleming joy that was rushing up within her. The joy of knowing that he was going to be OK. ” I saw Jeremy!” he said. ” Jeremy who?” she questioned, not knowing any Jeremy, other than the one who always was with her, yet never residing in her known consciousness. ” I met Jeremy, today..our son. I was with him…in Heaven.” Sharon didn’t know what to do, but her emotions did. Her eyes welled up to the overflowing.
Jeff went on and on in each patient, loving detail of his adventure. He had no recollection of the accident, or the trip to the hospital. He had no recollection of the last twelve hours at all. But, he had a vivid and loving recall of that place, his journey, the sights, the sounds, and Jeremy. The child that never had the chance to see the light of this world, outside of his mother’s womb. Yet, who had always lived in the light of Heaven from the moment his eyes were opened in that realm. It was about a year after Jeremy’s passing that Jeff and Sharon had together decided upon a name for him. Now they were both estatic that Jeff had had the opportunity to bestow it upon him, personally.
This story is fictional. I wrote it based of bits and pieces of many different stories and testimonies through the years that I have either heard or read about in my journey. I wanted to come up with a way to convey both the beauty and the reality of eternal life. And how all the things that we do on this side of the Great Veil will be someday revealed. The path is indeed narrow and the road to destruction very broad. Please search your own heart to see that you know the way!