Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chapter 38 - The Sign

December 26, 1948

Morning light revealed a wonderland of glistening snow. Its soft blanket covered everything with smooth mounds of whiteness. Solomon and Jerry squinted from the glare of the sun’s reflection as they made their way across the yard with shovels. “Looks like we got about two feet,” Jerry said. The muffled sound of clumps of snow falling off tree limbs could be heard all around as they trudged through the deep drifts dragging their feet to leave a furrow.

Jerry said, “I got the feeling that this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of the Pure One.”

“No, it’s not the first,” Solomon said.

“Well, tell me about it,” Jerry prodded. “Who is he?”

“I don’t know what to tell you about him,” he said. “All I can say is that every time Sarah sees him, she falls prostrate...face first into the dirt before him.” Solomon stopped and looked up at the sky. Tiny ice crystals blown by a gentle wind clung to his scruffy beard.

Jerry said, “He must be something special if Sarah acts that way around him. And you know how Servant sounded when he told us the baby was the Pure One. It sounded like some kind of annunciation.”

“Yeah,” Solomon said, “I noticed that.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t want to talk about it, man. I’m having trouble accepting the fact that the baby died and that he’s the Pure One. I just wanted him to be a baby. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around any of this. I have to be strong for Becky, and right now that means forgetting about the Pure One...whoever he is...whatever he is.”

“I understand,” Jerry said.

“I’m also crapped out by the fact that I seem to be able to heal other people, but I couldn’t do a damned thing for Becky and the baby.” Solomon turned his back and waved Jerry away as he wiped a tear off his cheek. He swallowed hard and said, “I think here in front of your tree stand would be a good place for the grave.”

“Yeah, I think Becky would like that,” Jerry answered. He looked back down the hill towards the cabin and asked, “Do you think she’ll be able to walk up here?”

“Oh yeah, we’ll help her,” Solomon said. “She needs to move around.”

They pushed the snow away uncovering a spot on the hill overlooking the cabin. They dug the tiny grave and then went back to the cabin.

Becky had watched them from the window in the living room. She was wrapped in a blanket.

Solomon said to her, “I’ll bet you’d like to clean up.”

“More than you know,” she said.

He filled a basin with warm soapy water and took it into the bathroom. Then he gathered up her hairbrush and fresh clothes from the cold bedroom and took them into the bathroom. “Your bleeding should be light now,” he said to her. “Let me know if it’s more than that.”

She nodded, “Okay.”

Jerry emptied the blankets out of a cedar chest and lined it with a blue Dutch doll quilt. Servant had said that the earthly remains of the Pure One were like a priceless treasure. Jerry carefully placed the infant in the chest. It was still swaddled in the white baby’s blanket. It looked like a doll lying peacefully in the chest...until the chest and its contents began to glow. Becky gasped and grabbed Solomon’s arm. A pulsing white light like the one Solomon had seen when Servant had been born into the Light World illuminated the cabin. Jerry touched the chest. The light grew brighter in response to his touch.

Becky’s eyes looked like saucers. “What’s happening?” she asked.

Solomon shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said.

At noon the three of them made their way up the hill to the gravesite. Jerry and Solomon slowly carried the cherished cargo as Becky walked behind them. On the hilltop Becky sat down in a chair beside the grave. She watched as Solomon and Jerry lowered the chest. Solomon stood beside Becky’s chair with his hand on her shoulder and said, “He came from God, and to God he returns. He is the Pure One.”

They sat in the stillness for a long time. Becky’s voice broke the silence as she sang, “I am a poor wayfarin’ stranger just travelin’ through this world of woe. There is no sickness, toil, or danger in that fair land to which I go.” The haunting sound hovered around them. The acoustics of the snow enshrouded them with the song. Becky cupped a handful of dirt from the mound and let it fall through her fingers onto her son’s coffin. She slowly stood up. Solomon helped her walk back to the cabin. Jerry stayed to return the mound of earth to the grave.

Becky lay on the sofa bed. She was worn out from the ordeals of birthing her stillborn son and then burying him. Solomon knelt beside her. His eyes scanned her face as he placed his hand on top of her upturned palm. He closed his eyes and consciously and lovingly gave her his strength. He willed his vitality to enter her. Becky quivered as she felt the force of his psychic energy penetrating her. It followed her blood vessels. She felt the warmth rise up her arm and invade her heart. From there it flowed into every cell of her body. Her pupils dilated from the influx of adrenaline as her body responded to Solomon’s energy.

The room appeared to brighten. The radiance of the sun streamed in the windows as it lit every dark nook and cranny in the cabin. And with the light, warmth blanketed everything. The furnace kicked on, and the icebox whirred as it started up. The overhead light in the kitchen flickered and then came on.

Becky raised her eyebrows and said, “I figured the power would be off for days.”

“I did too,” Solomon said looking out a front window. He went into Becky’s bedroom where he could get a better view of the power lines stretching down the road. A long section lay on the ground where a tree heavy with snow had fallen on the lines. The severed ends stuck out of the snow bank. Solomon shook his head in disbelief. I can’t wait for Jerry to see this, he thought.

As Becky stripped the sheets off the sofa bed, she said, “What did you just do to me?”

Jerry walked in the back door. He had heard the furnace kick on so he hurried back to the cabin. He saw that the overhead light was on in the kitchen. “Whoa!” he said, “the power lines are down. I know they’re down. I was careful not to step on them. What’s going on here?”

Both Jerry and Becky stared at Solomon. He shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said.

“Oh uh...Serrrvant,” Jerry crooned, “hellooo, where are you?”

The handsome blond ghost bent forward in a theatrical bow to the three of them. “At your service,” he said.

This was the first time that Becky had seen Servant. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open.

Jerry said, “I just wondered if you have an explanation for why we have power when the lines are down.”

Servant laughed, “It’s all an illusion. I thought you understood that by now.”

Solomon said, “You mean the fact that we have power right now is an illusion?”

“The fact that you ever have power is an illusion,” Servant said. “You live in a dream world. It appears to have substance, but it’s space…lots of space.”

“What are you talking about? Becky asked.

Servant lovingly looked at Becky and said, “I’m so sorry for your feeling of loss, Miss Banks.”

“Thank you,” she responded.

Servant said smiling at her, “Your relationship with your son is not what you expected it to be. You will have adjustments to make while you become accustomed to the reality of your relationship. But you will find that it’s much closer than you could ever have anticipated.”

“I hope you’re right,” Becky said.

Servant turned to Jerry and said, “In answer to your question, Jerry, you have a nucleus made up of positively charged subatomic particles, and it has a cloud of negatively charged subatomic particles surrounding it. Those particles are as far from each other as you are from the sun,” he said, “you know, relatively speaking...lots of space. What you see is an illusion.”

Suddenly the meaning of what he’d heard sank in. Jerry said, “It’s all an illusion! Now I get it,” he said. “The fact is that the three of us exist together in this nebulous etheric reality called life. We’re part of a whole that we’re not even aware of. This illusion of a physical world surrounding us can disappear in an instant, and eternity will never remember it.”

Servant, in all his beauty, leaned forward and said, “It is as important as the black in the eye of a dead ant.”

“What?” Jerry asked, “What’s so insignificant?”

“This world,” answered Servant. “It’s a fleeting mirage. It’s here one moment, and it’s gone the next. It blinks in and out of existence a billion times in a second. Only the unity and love between your souls exist eternally. This fellowship you experience is eternal. These memories you share are eternal. And death’s fleeting. When one of you detaches from this physical plane, the others follow in the twinkling of an eye.”

Solomon watched as the conversation between Servant, Jerry, and Becky continued. They seemed to be moving and talking in slow motion. Jerry poured coffee into his cup. Solomon saw the coffee flowing like cold molasses, and then it stopped in suspended animation. He felt and saw himself telescoping away from them. Their voices trailed off until he could no longer hear them. A bright whiteness encompassed him. He felt as if pure intelligence flowed through him. Data entered him faster than he could assimilate it. He looked at his hands. They glowed, and his fingertips emitted brilliant beacons of white light.

Solomon was aware of a wise and loving presence with him. What seemed to be the source of the presence pulsated, alternating between a white light and a lustrous golden atmosphere. Solomon heard the voice that seemed to be within him. It said, “Well done, Solomon, prepare to receive the Sign.”

A distant figure walked towards him. Solomon focused on the form. As it neared him, he realized that it was a young man who looked enough like himself to be his brother. His skin appeared to be lit from within by a brilliant white light. “Greetings, Solomon,” he said, “do you recognize me?”

Solomon responded, “Are you the Pure One?”

The celestial creature laughed. “That is what your friends have called me. It will suffice for a name. I am the infant son of Becky,” he said.

Solomon stood transfixed by the young man.

“In the afterlife, you are my father,” the Pure One said. “You are my spiritual father because you loved me.”

“Yes, I loved you in Becky’s womb,” Solomon said, “and I still love you as her son.”

Diaphanous tendrils reached out from the Pure One and curled around Solomon. Solomon put his finger out to touch one of them, and it wrapped his finger with a silken web. Solomon wanted to laugh. He didn’t know why, he just felt like laughing. So he laughed long and hard.

The Pure One said, “Very good, you don’t laugh enough, Solomon.”

“I’ll try to correct that,” Solomon said.

“Do you have questions about the Sign?” the Pure One asked.

“I have lots of questions,” he said. “I don’t really know what the Sign is. When will I receive it?”

The Pure One smiled. “You have received it already. It is embedded in your essence,” he said.

“I don’t feel anything,” Solomon said uncertainly, “are you sure that I have it?”

The Pure One’s laughter rang out through the shimmering golden atmosphere causing swirling eddies of pale yellow within the gold. “You can’t see it because it’s part of the Light World. Trust me; it’s there. You already know that what you see is not the reality of the Light World. It’s merely an interpretation your soul passes along to your physical senses to give you an inkling of what is occurring in the Light World. One is not capable of comprehending the afterlife until one passes beyond the physical plane,” the Pure One said, “and even then there are limitations.”

“The Sign you now bear gives you power over life and death…over sickness and health. It empowers you to control the forces of nature, to calm the storm, and to move the mountain. As the Messenger has said, ‘Whatsoever ye ask, ye shall receive.’”

Solomon said, “I want to be honest with you. I still grieve the death of Becky’s baby. Why did you detach from it? Why does it have to be this way?”

“There are many mysteries between this world and the Light World,” the Pure One said to him. “Have faith that there is a purpose in all of this.”

“You’re not going to explain it to me, are you?” Solomon said. He saw that the Pure One was fading. “Wait,” he said, “why me,” he asked, “why have I received the Sign?”

“Because you asked,” said the Pure One, “and because you believe.”

“But others ask and believe too. What about Ma and Jerry?”

Solomon observed currents of pure white in the golden atmosphere. The Pure One said, “The Messenger also has said, ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’ Have you not always known that you are different from the rest? Have you not sensed your destiny?”

Solomon hesitated, “But what am I supposed to do with this power?”

“Do what you see fit,” the Pure One said, “but remember that physical death has a purpose in the plan of the universe. It’s like releasing a bird from a cage. Never fear physical death. It is as natural as birth, and it is equally joyous. God has made death a messenger of joy.”

“And as for healing, remember that there is a wisdom in suffering,” the Pure One continued. “Physical health is not the primary goal of the physical plane. Spiritual health is the primary goal of the physical plane. Suffering allows one to detach from the physical plane. It empowers one to soar in the spiritual planes.”

Solomon pondered the gravity of the gift of the Sign. His eyes scanned the luminous golden horizons as his mind explored the depths of the Pure One’s words. At last he said, “I understand.” In a swirling blur the scene changed. Solomon was again in the kitchen with Servant, Jerry, and Becky. Jerry was still pouring coffee into the same cup. Time had stopped for Solomon’s visit in the Light World with the Pure One.

As Becky and Jerry droned on about the mysteries and miracles of the day, Servant stared at Solomon. “You have the Sign,” he said.

“That’s what I’m told,” Solomon replied.

“You don’t understand the significance of it yet,” Servant said.

“Not really,” Solomon said, “maybe if I could see it.”

Servant gazed at Solomon. His eyes scanned above and around him. “It is magnificent,” he declared.

Jerry noticed that he and Becky were missing an important conversation between Servant and Solomon. “What are you two talking about?” he asked.

Servant said, “Solomon has received the Sign.”

Jerry looked puzzled but respectful. Becky looked puzzled and curious.

Servant put his hands up as if to tell them to stop. “Now is not the time to discuss this.”

Solomon was already putting on his boots and coat. He said, “I’m going up Buzzard Mountain to the overlook.” He turned to Becky and said, “Remember? I took you there when we first met.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” she asked.

He kissed her forehead and said, “I need to do this alone.” He picked up the walking stick beside the back door. “I’ll be back before dark,” he said as he left.

Becky turned to Jerry and said, “Solomon did something to me a while ago. I can’t explain it. I have this overwhelming feeling that my baby is here with me. It’s like he permeates every cell in my body.”

Jerry looked at Servant. “Does this have anything to do with the Sign?”

Servant nodded yes.

“Well,” Jerry added, “does the fact that we have electric power when no one else in Rooster Cove has it…does that have anything to do with the Sign?”

“It does,” responded Servant.

Jerry said, “This is big. This is really big.”

Copyright © 2008 by Robbin Renee Bridges
Coping with Grief through Afterlife Communication

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