My time had finally arrived. It was anticlimactic to realize the eternal question had been answered. Yes, there is an afterlife and yes, I did encounter people I’d known in life. Many of which I was surprised to witness had made the resurrection cut. Were there no morality or ‘sin’ standards in heaven? It was almost disappointing to think that my own rebirth was apparently equal to people I thought would surely roast for their worldly misdeeds. It made ‘the club’ feel far less exclusive.
I received a number of sideways glances and peculiar looks when I arrived at the so-called ‘pearly gates’. I suppose the ne’er-do-wells had the same misgivings about me. I just shrugged at their unapologetic stinkeye and continued on. The powers-that-be obviously decided I was worthy of being there. I wasn’t about to dwell on their unimportant, negative opinions.
The whole experience was a little too new to me at first; for it to register. I saw long lost relatives. Good friends. Former lovers, and general acquaintances from long ago. It was every bit as emotional as you might think. Honestly, I never expected to see my grandparents and parents again. It all felt like a fantasy which miraculously came true. I was somehow experiencing a visceral, lucid dream.
A person who I considered to be ‘the love of my life’ was right up front, waiting to give me a big hug and kiss. It wasn’t ‘romantic’ though. There was a distinctive feeling in my mind that adult passion and carnal feelings were a pointless thing of the past. Instead it felt absolutely pure, just like a mother’s unconditional embrace. Then she whispered something in my ear which caught me fully by surprise.
“I’m sorry I doubted you, Dennis. It was wrong of me and I regretted it for the rest of my life. Please forgive me. At least we are together now.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I had so many years of built-up resentment over the sudden dissolution of our relationship. I carried the anger and bitterness over her hasty decision to end things when she did. At the time, I couldn’t convince her that I was innocent; and that lingering frustration remained around my neck like a stone for the rest of my life. I wasn’t able to see how that pain haunted me (when I was still alive), and she couldn’t see it was undeserved scorn either.
Death offered both of us a level of clarity that life had been too cloudy to see. The important thing was, she finally understood I hadn’t betrayed her. The mutual forgiveness and reconciliation was liberating in a way that I could never describe here. It was also very special to me that of all the people I met in heaven (that day and since), she was the first. She felt the strongest need to unburden herself, and perhaps I needed to hear what she had to say. It was incredibly cathartic and beautiful.
Next I sought out my Mother and father in the crowd. I apologized for the many times I’d let them down. Both of them graciously minimized my former shortcomings and denied that I had ever brought them pain or parental grief. They in turn, wanted me to know that they were sorry for being impatient with me when I was a child. It was startled to see how heavily those long-forgotten events still weighed on them. Holding them again in my arms was indescribable. We were united together again, in a perfect world without end.
Waiting in this massive meeting room we’re coworkers, old friends, classmates, bullies, ex girlfriends. Ex wives, my elementary school teachers, store clerks, and every soul I’d encountered in my entire life. As a matter of fact, it was everyone that every single person had ever encountered. The purpose of ‘the reconciliation hall’ was to unburden yourself, or to make amends for your own personal wrongdoings. There was no fiery torment or punishment awaiting us. It was about sincere apology and spiritual rebirth. Every soul who ever lived met with all the people they had ever encountered; in order to repair damage and move forward.
Only by shedding those negative experiences and the emotional roadblocks could the resurrected hope to evolve into the next phase of our intertwined human existence. No one could move forward in that room until all of those ugly weights were lifted. Apologies, admissions, tears, laughter, smiles, and then the unbridled release of freedom. Time stood still in the reconciliation hall. At last, every single soul present had unburdened themselves and freed their earthly pain and the devastating bonds with the past.
Slowly the walls which contained us dissolved. After that, we were no longer confined by any physical or psychological parameters or limits. The next, great phase of humanity achieved an unparalleled milestone. We all moved forward as a single, unfettered, united entity. In heaven, everything is fine.