I opened my eyes for the very first time.
Everything around me was blurred and hushed, but even still I could tell
that it was beautiful. I took a deep breath and listened. Slowly, sound
began to penetrate the stillness around me, and looking around I could
see my surroundings becoming clear and bright. Tall green grass swished
around me, catching the glow of the sun in little patches here and
there. A bird called out to me from a nearby tree, and as he flitted
through the branches, a feather came and brushed my face. The breeze
swirled around me, carrying with it what seemed like a thousand
blossoms, filling the air and sharing their joy with the whole earth.
That joy caught in my spirit, and welled up within me. I threw back my
head and laughed.
As I sat there, gazing upon the
world with sparkling eyes and an awe-filled heart, I looked and saw a
light above me. It was not the sun. It was much brighter, and even more
beautiful. I could not seem to turn away from it, and the happiness in
my heart began to mix with a pure, burning desire. It filled me. And the
light within was almost as bright as the one above.
I again turned my attention to my surroundings. For the first time I
noticed that I was seated in a sort of small car. It was firmly held to a
track which stretched up and above me in the front and the back,
creating a "U" shape. How I had not noticed this earlier, I do not know.
On either side of me there were handles which would move the car
forward when I pushed them down. With surprise and delight I saw that
the track led strait up towards the light that I longed to reach. I
pushed down hesitantly, moved forward, and then let go. The car paused,
and then rolled backward. More boldly this time, I pushed a little
harder, and soon I had the handles down as far as they could go, and the
car shot upwards into the sky. Higher and higher, I went, and
excitement began to grow in my heart, flooding through my veins as I
soared to the light that had given me life.
delight turned to dismay as I began to slow down, and the handles began
to resist my touch. For one moment I was stopped in mid air, fighting to
push forward. And then, suddenly, the handles flew back, and I was
falling. Fear gripped me, squeezing the air out of my lungs, and filling my eyes with tears of panic. My arms flew over my head, one hand grasping the front of the car.
Falling. Falling. Falling.
I was going backwards. As the car came to the bottom, I could feel it starting to rise again, but in the opposite direction than I had wanted to go. I could not see where I was going, and sorrow seemed to wipe out all joy that had ever filled me before. At the back of my mind I was conscious of a sound; a voice maybe. But it was so distant that it did not penetrate my thoughts.
At long last, the car came to a stop. I covered my face and wept. There was the light ahead of me, brighter than ever, and by comparison, the beauty that surrounded me was like a faded photograph. Through tears I looked with longing at the way ahead of me. Wearily, my hands came from my face to the handles. I would try again.
Many times I tried. But no matter how high or how quickly the car ascended, it would always slow down, always stop, always fall back to where I had come from. There was never enough strength in me to keep going. At one time I gave up, wishing only to leave the car and sleep in the grass, or touch the flowers, or sing with the birds; to forget about the light. But after seeing it, how could I forget? And I could not leave.
But I could not stay. I could not reach the place where I knew I belonged.
Finally, one day, after much hard work and anguish, I had made more progress than usual, when I saw that the track just ended. Right there ahead of me, high in the air, my one hope vanished. Grief flooded me.
I fell, as I had so often done before, crying as I never had before. Now I believed that there was no way. No matter how far I traveled, I would always come back to the place I had started. And even at my best, I could never go all the way up.
I covered my head and sobbed.
And then there was a sound. The same sound that had been in the back of my mind for so long. And then it was not a sound; it was a voice. Calling me. Calling my name. For the first time, I listened, and through the tears I saw a man standing in front of me, clothed in white and looking like a Son of God. He came to me, took my face in his hands, and kissed my forehead. He had always been there. When I stopped, I could remember him standing there by the tree, smiling as I watched the bird, singing with the grass around me, laughing as I laughed. I remembered him. I did not know how I could have forgotten him as I tried to reach the light above me. My eyes met his, and I felt a comfort I had not known before touch my soul.
He took my hands in his, placed them on the handles, and pushed. Slowly we moved upward together. We did not rush up as I had wanted to do, but as we traveled, I realized that I did not want to go any faster. Every moment I was coming to know this man more, and feeling his strength flow into me. When at last we reached the end of the track, my hopes wavered.
And then there was no track. There was no car. It happened so suddenly, and yet so quietly, that I almost didn't notice at first. I looked down and saw the earth stretched out below my feet. And then I looked, and all I saw was his arm around me, carrying me upward. His eyes where deeper than any ocean, and filled with warmth, love, and joy in me. His joy flowed into my heart, and I rested my head on his chest.
I woke up in a small clearing. At first I did not remember what had happened, but in a moment it all came back to me. The light was still above me, but not so far now. I looked and saw a path leading to it, and by the entrance stood the man who had carried me here. The trail was not easy, but he smiled at me and held out his hand. And I knew that I could trust him.
I put my hand in his, and we began our walk together.