My Life was a long one, as things of this kind are figured, and a pretty good one as well. There were ups and downs of course, but from my reckining, more ups than downs. I was generally happy and content. My life was good.
But alas, like all good things, the time had come for my life to end.
On a cold winters night, snow covering the lands and Jack Frost playing the part of an artist on my windows, I had a great meal, nothing fancy, just good wholesome stuff, then spent my evening by the fire, losing myself in mellow music. I think I must have dozed off, sitting in my favorite chair.
I didn’t wake up tho, leastwise, not in any way I’d done before. I opened my eyes to find myself astride a golden pathway. A place I had never before seen.
I suppose I must have blinked, I can’t really say for sure. I know I then looked around, and then what I saw shocked me, probably more than anything ever had. There, just a short distance from me, was a set of gates, pearly white gates. This couldn’t really be true, I couldn’t really be seeing what I was seeing.
I didn’t really want to, but I felt a strong need to approach these gates, and so I did. As I drew closer I saw, just like in the stories, beautiful people flying about, for the had wings, and looked to be beings of light. I thought I heard, but wasn’t really sure, some music or singing of some sort. Was it voices? Was it woodwinds and strings? Was it the wind, blowing thru chimes, tho I felt no wind upon my skin?
I entered the gate, and then I spied, waiting just inside, a beautiful man in flowing white robes. In his hands he held what looked to me to be a ledger book of some sort, tho not like any I had ever seen. It was both incredibly large, yet only as substantial as a hint of a breeze.
I’d had my suspicions before, but now I knew to where it was I had come.
The man looked up from the book at me, smiled a radiant smile, and said “I welcome you, Michael my brother”.
“Are you, are you Saint Peter? And this place, this place, is it really Heaven?”
“Well yes” he replied. “That is a name I am known by. And yes, this place is known by that name as well”.
“There must be some mistake” I said. “From all I know, from all I’ve read and heard, I haven’t earned any right to be here”.
“Oh, you do belong here” he said. “We do not make mistakes here”.
“But how can this be? I did not spend my sundays in church. I haven’t taken any sacrements. I did not pray to God every day”.
“No, you didn’t, did you?” he replied. “You spent your sundays with your family and friends. You helped your wife keep house, you taught and played with your sons. You wished each night for peace, and for happiness and health to all you knew”.
“Yes, that is true, but I was still far from church on Gods’ day”.
“No, but you would go to see sick relatives and friends, give them help and comfort in their time of need. And when your sons were grown and gone from the house, you spent many a sunday, first at the Saint Agnes soup kitchen, then the later part of the day at the shelter for women and children”.
“Saint Peter, I have never gone to confession, to pay my penance and have my sins forgiven”.
“No you haven’t” he said, “but you sat with others in need. You gave them your ear when they needed it. You lent them your shoulder to lean on, and your strength to draw from”.
“But” I said. ” I had sex, many, many times before I got married. I was weak and couldn’t help myself, but still the bible says I am a sinner for this, and I will be honest, I am still not sorry for what I did. I enjoyed it”.
At this he just chuckled. “God gave you desires, and made sex enjoyable for a reason my brother. And, you never hurt anyone by your actions, you always took care that your partner enjoyed it as much as you, and most importantly, you always cared about those you lay down with, loved them in a way even. You think this is so wrong?”.
“But the bible says” I started, but he cut me right off.
“The bible is a very good book, with many good notions in it, but it is a just a book none the less. The writers may have been inspired by the feel of God in many ways, but the book was written by people, not by God, and people are not infallable as you well know. Besides, which version of the bible do you think you went against? Do you know how many times it was re-written? How many times it was translated from one tongue to another. Do you think that in all these things, there might not be some misunderstandings and things not exactly true placed in this book?”
“That may be true Saint Peter, and even so, there is one reason above all others that I know I have no right to be here. You see, I am not even a Christian. In fact, I am a witch. Say what you will, witches have no place in Heaven”.
As I finished saying this, I saw the day go bright around me. A feeling of warmth and happiness spread thru me.
“And who is to say that only those who follow the Christian faith may go to heaven?” said a voice which seemed to come from all around me, and from inside my heart as well.
I turned and beheld the most awesome sight. There, standing before me was the Lord God, the Father of us all. I could not help but fall to my knees.
“Kneel not before me my son. Instead, rise, rise and embrace me, for you are my son, you are of me as much as I am of you”.
I rose and rushed into his arms and clutched to him as he embraced me. With my eyes squeezed tight shut, a feeling of peace and total love wrapped around me like a protective cacoon. Now, at this point, I felt I really did belong in this place.
He ended the embrace and stepped back. I opened my eyes and gazed into the beautiful, radiant face of the Goddess, our Mother standing before me where I had just been held by God.
“Human beins have a saying, that you are created in Gods’ image, is this not so? Well, my children have many faces, and they follow many paths. All of those many different faces are the same as my face, and all of the faiths and paths are one with me, and I with them. I am your Mother, I am your Father, you are all my children and I am of you. Welcome home my son”.
I stood for a moment, not knowing what to do, what to say.
“You don’t need to say a thing” She told me. Just be at home. Now, walk over and take the path to your right and follow it into the green fields. Your wife jenny has been wiaiting for you, in that place you call the Summerlands”.