This is a short story. It is not intended to carry any subliminal thoughts about religion (My Fathers house has many mansions etc) Its basis however does stem from a dream I had.
I’ll spend no more than an hour writing this memory as it happened just under eleven hours ago. Jan had snored most of the night, which I don’t mind as I take the opinion that I can always sleep, later on or nap in the afternoon. Anyway just after Jan left for work, and as I did not have to get up for any special reason, I soon drifted off to sleep.
Even, later this morning (as always with dreams) the pictures become blurry – the details fade – but what I can clearly recall is as follows:
I had died!
No problem with that, I knew my life had ended, but could not for the life of me “Ha ha” remember how or in what circumstances I had passed over.
I found myself to be in a bustling building with lots of people – some looking vacant and shocked, whilst others were engaged in conversation with others around them. I thought, as this seemed to be a nice place and I had no pain or concerns I would just stay quietly in the room to observe – what was happening.
It was very nice and very interesting. Before very long I deduced that many of the people involved in conversation were led off to other rooms in the building either under their own strength or by way of chairs that they were invited to sit in, by the people that they were talking with.
Having an interest in architecture, I was fascinated to see the walls of the room subtly change in colour and texture within the most pleasing range of hues that reminded me of insects or bird colours those that are shockingly most vivid but as should be in their surroundings.
I cannot say if it was minutes, days, or years before a very pleasant person (may be a woman or man) approached me. S/He knew my name and so put me at my ease so that I was totally relaxed. We talked about the world I had known before I had died, things I thought I had achieved, and some of the experiences I would rather have not done and actions – given the same circumstances again, I would have done differently. It wasn’t in any way a judgmental gruelling interview – more a chat with someone who really wanted to know the me I thought was me.
What a lovely person, I thought. S/He was like a mixture of all the people I had loved in my life. Granny, Dad, Mum – the girls I had given my heart to, children, grandchildren, and great-grand-children – each facet of our conversation drew me to remember both the excellent – ‘walking to school once, I saw a worm trying to cross the pavement, so I picked it up and put it on a nearby flowerbed. The not so excellent – when I cringed to remember my selflessness, greed, nastiness, etc. Shame leads me to pass by those details, but as I said I did not feel I was being judged at all.
After a time I became aware that I was sitting in a high backed chair. (a very comfortable chair) and my friend lent over to place some marks on the chair back above my left shoulder. I asked the meaning of these marks and was told that I should go and explore within the building’s rooms and corridors to find the room that suited me most. I eagerly accepted the invitation as it was the most fascinating building I had ever seen.
Bemused, I found I could perambulate my chair – by thought! Left, right, straight on or back, even to different levels, were all my options – all at my thought’s disposal. The place was enormous – not hot or cold – and all within my exploration were others moving to their own (what I came to think of as their) journey of destiny, through vastly different halls. Some I recognised as Regency décor and Victorian (very cluttered) whilst others were minimalist with just plain walls. Just about everywhere I went, there were others – some walking, but many in chairs like me.
Within the various rooms I went in there were groups of people asking and questioning friends very similar to H/She who originally spoke to me. I noticed and took the temerity to ask in one room “why is there no anger here”? I was told, “but there is! You have just not visited those rooms”.
For a very brief moment, I was tempted to go and find one of these rooms but then logic told me that perhaps I should stay where I was and talk some more with this person.
S/He enquired what I remembered of my life and much to my complete surprise I could not recall any specific memories just a general feeling that overall I had enjoyed my life albeit with some very sad episodes. Vague scenes and even vaguer faces seemed to drift in and out of my thoughts like transparent cob-web images. I became quite fascinated in trying to force my mind to hold onto some of the pictures I had nearly seen but could not. I then decided that whatever the next uninvited picture I thought I would see I would not just let it drift from my thoughts but I was resolved to keep it in my mind for as long as I could. It turned out to be the exterior of a very old very fine, stone building with hugely thick walls, not castle like, with arrow slots – no, I could see in many places the carved stone lintel’s and mullions holding vertical glass diamond shaped leaded glass windows. Ask me not how or why I decided to go and look through one of the higher windows – for I could not tell you, but approach I did…
I saw a room looked absolutely exquisite. Each vast wall was covered in fine tapestries that must have taken thousands of hours to create. This was no fading cob-web vision, as the colours in each and every stitch seemed to leap into life as my mesmerised gaze looked first from one to another wall. It suddenly occurred to me that I was no longer outside the window looking in, I was inside the room revering the artistry. I think I could have stayed in that room for ever and still not have taken in all the beauty that I saw.
Somehow, H/She was in the room with me, saying “I thought you would like this room” but then asked a few completely bizarre questions.
“Had I yet realised that my previous life had expired – some time ago?”
I replied,” no, in all honesty – this place was different to anything I knew but I could not remember anything I once knew anyway”
S/He asked, “Did I feel rested and completely free of all my previous life experiences”?
That one through me a bit with the question in the plural but after thinking about it, I did say “yes”.
S/He then asked if I would like to experience another life existence, and if I did – to sit quietly and contemplate what would be, the five top ambitions I might want to to achieve in that life? S/He promised to return in a while, when I had given it some thought.
To be honest, my first thought was to decline another life, as this place was stupendously lovely, and there was a residual unease about foggy feelings (not memories) of greed, sickness, poverty and the ugliness of others, when I had had a life. But then it occurred to me that I still was alive – it was different now, but I could think and feel, experience wonderful sights and sounds, look and appreciate beauty, and now plan for perhaps another life journey…
A kaleidoscope of possibilities raced through my imagination – surprisingly (almost out of hand) I rejected being rich and privileged. I also rejected main stream politics, but held onto the notion of helping others achieve and overcome their problems. I then got quite emotional when out of the blue the idea came that I would play a musical instrument, and give pleasure to others by that gift. I also felt very moved to recreate some of the scenes I had seen in this place of utter beauty. Last on my mental list, was to be a Mother to a small but happy family where I could almost live yet another life within a life in seeing my babies grow, learn, achieve their own independent destinies and give me lots of grandchildren.
I can’t remember if my friend ever did come back to me but instead I was shown the mental image of a very beautiful Indian girl, with loving parents who had a gift for music and art and eventually a good husband and two equally lovely children, living laughing and loving in a place called Mumbai, west India.