“Well, Gabriel, it seems the clocks have stopped.”
“Yes, Michael, this is the moment for which we have been waiting.”
“Time to get started.”
“Ah, the new arrivals. So many and just as expected.”
* * * * * * *
Where were you when the button was pushed? The red button that ended the world. I was sitting at my kitchen table watching the news while eating oatmeal and trying not to be late for work. My wife had just rushed out the door, and the kids didn’t miss the bus that day. I heard a noise and felt a wave of heat and then all turned black like curtains closing after a Broadway show. I think Cats was the last show we caught. It was off off Broadway but good as far as I know.
I’m here now taking it all in. The sky is a shade other than I’ve ever seen. The ground under foot lets me sink in. The air is less a necessity than a presence, and there are new colors that I cannot describe. It seems to be both day and night, but the night is like a memory, a warm blanket, an afterthought.
While I haven’t seen my family yet, I know that they are here- exploring and resting. Rest. When have I ever truly experienced this thing called rest? Sleep was usually a nightmare and relaxing involved a lot of work. Packing for a trip, unpacking for the trip, trying to escape home. I spent so much time trying not to think and attempting to please everyone. I was a broken cup trying to refill.
I recall the moment I got here. The moment I arrived my mind stopped chattering like an unwanted guest invited to dinner. I had no idea that I had been living with this second self. Here, my thoughts are still my own, but they are fully connected to what I can only call Goodness. Down there, fear was my shadow.
* * * * * * *
“They all seem content and pleased.”
“Yes, Michael, they do.”
“Do you suppose we can take a break now, Gabriel?”
“Now? Very funny, Michael!”
* * * * * * *
I don’t sleep now, but I never tire. I’m never hungry but always satisfied. There are many others and when we meet eyes, we have this feeling that we know we can fly. On earth I sometimes could fly in my dreams, and now I feel sure it is possible.
Just like on earth, there are innumerable plants and animals everywhere, but, here, they all have an even more exceptional vibrancy. Also, they are unscathed and untouched by human hand. Here, no one is trying to label and eat them. The stars are unnamed, vast and fully comprehended, and people are not the same at all but admired for their differences.
Just like on earth, everyone is a set of fingerprints, a new soul, a unique being, but, here, the majesty of creation is not inhibited by the slow crawl of skepticism. Many there could not see up, only beneath.
I know that there will be no more war. I also know that all wars were a waste of skin and blood and sacrifice. People were small. They swarmed and they sweated. They strove and forsook. They could not see. They could not fully breathe. They pushed down joy and called it mania. They made despair a medal of honor. Any glimpse of exuberance was mistaken as madness. Pills were given to stifle such unsavory notions.
Where were you when they pushed the red button? Were you trapped in your cubicle, waiting for the bus, locked up in jail, watching a sitcom? Did you expect it? Did you see it coming? I think I was somewhere in between.
Down there we were all perpetually underfoot, trampled and abused by an unseen enemy who tricked us into being enemies of one another.
My brother used to call our bodies “meat suits”. It made me laugh but resonated. I had glimpses of this realm when I was trapped in my skin- my meat suit- moments of clarity and peace.
Where were you the last moment? What happened when you entered the Gates? Did you finally feel free of your meat suit? Did you look back and see for the first time?
I had a friend down there who never got a full taste of this place. He sunk and sunk and believed he would never rise. He is here now. He tells me that he was robbed of his moments and tricked into misery by the Liar. He says the Liar’s main job was to villainize the Maker and to glorify evil acts.
When I first woke up from the slumber faze, it dawned on me that the Book was a guide to freedom and that the Liar had twisted it into a chore. He worked to make all things opposite: God is a scary monster, bad things are fun, good things are dull, church is a boring building and the devil is a cartoon character. Essentially, he wanted us to think that God was out to get us and that he, the Liar, was a myth. All of words in the Book were an instruction manual. A road map to escape the maze.
I have this inclination that I was formerly in a trap- an animal in the forest caught by a hungry hunter. I used to wonder how long before the hunter showed up. Now, I know that the hunter could not devour me and the trap was a trick. Also, the trap was unlocked and it was my mind. People who loved me said I didn’t have to live there anymore, but I stayed in the cage and was not fully free as I am now.
Another thing I’ve realized is that I no longer wonder why. I have this steady wave of calm. It’s the same calm that I fought for down there, but now I don’t have to strive. Down there, I lived in a state of unrest- worrying and wondering, but I know now that it wasn’t my job in the first place.
Isn’t it funny how we strive so hard for a thing that we can never attain? I wanted to fix all in my line of vision. I wanted to make it right, and it was always so disturbing when it wasn’t. Now I know that I couldn’t straighten everything out. I was in need of adjustment as well as the next creature.
Where were you the moment the red button was pushed? Were you walking your dog or making your bed? Were your worries on or off? Were you content or striving? Did it matter?
Oddly, I remember the sadness of life. I remember and no longer weep. It was an inner and an outer thing for me down there. We were all perpetually weeping whether we knew it or not. A constant mourning. An outpouring of despair. It sounds so defined and morose, but there was also an undercurrent of hope that overshadowed pain.
Despite my inner illness, something compelled me to cling to this thing called hope. It was a tiny bit of light in a pool of darkness, but it was enough. I can say that I never gave up. I did not give up.
I get a sense now that I could have been less distraught. I knew some that didn’t. Get distraught, I mean. They had this perpetual glimmer even down there. A shine that I was drawn to. My mother had it. My dad had it. My sister too, and many others along the way. They were not disrupted by life’s troubles. They did not wear the badge of despair, and they understood that joy was not madness. They held a secret that eluded me. They were living in this place even on earth. At least as much as their meat suits would allow.
I spent a lot of time dismissing their disposition and stressing about the next thing. However, despite this, and, always, there was an undercurrent that kept me along. I was a babe kept safe in a cradle, and I clung to the light in the corner.
I wonder if it would have been any different had I understood more of this down there. And still, I can't escape the Calm that is here. I'm sure I will fly and I always could have.
This all may sound very wild and bizarre, but I'm sure you have your own red button story to share. Suffice it to say, I recall the day the red button was finally pushed and time ceased.