"...when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.
So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
Carl from "Caddyshack"
So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
Carl from "Caddyshack"
She rolled over on the plushly carpeted floor, one arm outstretched as if grasping onto the last few moments of life. Her eyes started to blur as she slipped from one world to the next. On the night stand an empty pill bottle betrayed her final despair. She was all out of love.
"You're too hard, God. You just don't understand...this planet is a hellhole, full of miserable people and miserable lives just waiting to pounce on you and tear you down...they never stop, get me out of here!...where can I go?...I had to do it...these things of mine...I needed these things to survive!...I had no choice...my children...I couldn't not have children, right or wrong...I got everything I said I wanted...these things...my marriage, my house...I don't get it...they aren't enough...I guess I wasn't as smart as I thought I was."
Then she passed into the Light.
"Am I going to hell?" was her first question.
"There is no hell, there is no heaven. There's only the love you make," replied the angel.
Without knowing how she knew to do so, she followed the angel to the Cloud Of Light.
The angel showed no signs of judgement or scorn or approval, speaking thusly: "We shall see two versions of your life: the one you led and the one if life embraced - the one meant for you."
Immediately she wished to defend herself but again an unspoken knowledge kept her in quiet futility.
A projection on the cloud began as the pair watched her bright birth. Life started out well for her as she climbed the social latter of the living. A star among her peers yet all the while hiding a secret doubt. The angel asked the homecoming queen about this shadow - and she knew no lie was possible.
"It's hard to say, really. I felt undeserving, that maybe I wasn't really committed to anything. Wasn't really committed to myself I should say. I just had these dreams. Everyone else, they had some idea of a direction for their life, but me...well, all I knew were these wonderful dreams of living. I wanted to show the whole world how beautiful life could be!"
"Dreamers have the highest calling - and the highest duty."
In college, the shadow deepened. She watched as the voices of doubt won the battle for her confidence. She edged away from the light she so fervently espoused previously. The angel said nothing but...
"You don't understand. I had to go to college. There was nothing else for me to do. I couldn't be a writer or something definite like my classmates. My parents were teachers! How could I explain I wasn't ready to go, that I needed to find myself first? Everyone had such a high opinion of me, I wasn't going to lose that! All those expectations were just so...overwhelming. Maybe my dreams were just dreams, I thought."
She started to cry tears she kept invisible in the carnal world. "What a fool I was! No one can live my life for me! I was always living to make everyone else happy. I told myself I was strong to keep my feelings inside. But that was weak and cowardly. I was so sure the truth was never enough. I broke faith. The preacher doused me in water and said I was saved. But I never was."
She knew what was coming next. "Must we continue?"
"No, as you wish."
Three earth years later, she knew she must know. "Please continue."
She had forgotten that in college her gravest thoughts of suicide had come to seed. This isn't me. I have no future in a lie. It's obvious as the day I have no way to live! The suffocating role-play humiliated her in despair, pretending success in school was same as success in life. She could care less what her grades were outside the approval they brought. All she knew was she wanted out.
But like any bill to pay, the longer she waited the higher the price.
On the Cloud of Light dark events from the past are as visible as the blue sky. So very openly she watched as the voices of doubt called an enemy of her dreams into her life. "No, don't trust him!" She relived the first initial repulsion, the instinctive loathing by the remnants of her confidence. He was nothing but a parasitic twerp looking to suck the life out of her. He needed that to justify his own voices of doubt. He'd never had any dreams of his own.
Gradually, the truth within began to twist. "I need you..." he whispered in her ear. "I love your dreams..." he cooed. "I'll give you the world..." he hopefully bribed. It was direction she missed from her life and direction he would provide. Only now she watched wide-eyed in horror as the shadow couple walked hand in hand down the wrong path in mutual contempt of her dreams!
"No, no! You don't have to do that!" She turned towards the angel. "It's so obvious now. Why didn't you tell me? Why let me walk down the wrong path? None of this is what I wanted. How could I believe it was actually OK to do what I want? It never mattered what I wanted down there. They would attack me for being selfish if I followed my own path. I had no protection!"
She sat in stone for another six months. "It was because I feared I was too selfish that I never did what I wanted. I didn't want to face myself. Once I started running, I couldn't stop. But I always tried to be objective about my life."
"Yes, we know."
It was her objectivity that brought her true love into her life two years into her marriage. She'd been crying out for hope and secretly embraced her dreams once more - but only because she had such an iron grip on her marriage she never feared she'd be without its crutch. The Cloud of Light made all her actions so obvious she wondered how she'd ever managed to fool herself.
"Now I'll show you the life you could have had with your soulmate. Shall I free you of your guilt?"
"Which guilt? ...oh that guilt..."
"We knew you had needs. We put them there. Wealth is not a sin for you. Neither is family and children. Without such things you would have died. It was the only way to keep your dreams alive."
"Exactly! I was saying that for years! No one ever understood. Was nothing to do with selfishness. I needed these things like I needed air to breathe. What a relief to find out I was not lying."
"But it only works if you marry your true love. Had you done so your wealth would have been one thousand fold your husband's ill gotten gains. As a couple you'd have been a shining beacon of light in the world - just as you always dreamed. You would have taught your children openness and honesty instead of darkness and deceit. All the things of life you needed would have been provided in overflowing abundance. And most of all your dreams would have come to life. You'd have been a free person just as you always wished."
"But there is no freedom!"
"And now for the life of your soulmate, alone and abandoned - "
She protested but did not stop the projection is his sorrowed voice. "Where are you? I'm so lost without you. You are all my dreams and fantasies come true!"
"This is unbearable! Stop it! Stop it now!"
"I'll never be anything without you. Life has no meaning. Just endless emptiness and wandering."
"Shut him up! He'll ruin everything! Shut his damn mouth or I swear I'll do it for you!"
"I'm missing you literally to death. Just one word from you could change my life. I have no future!"
"Kill him! Kill him DEAD! Don't ever let another word out of his damn mouth! Do you hear me? KILLLL HIMMMM!"
After witnessing the Conversation That Must Never Be Heard, she now lived in a time of Revelation, and she fell from the cloud sobbing. "I'm a murderer! I'm a murderer!"
For twenty years she cried as red stains appeared on her hands. She'd turned her back on the love of her life, never believing he could provide her with her Checklist for Life. Even as she so often wished for him to love her, the idea he needed her was a state secret to be suppressed at costs. To be revealed as a murderer after all she'd built simply unacceptable. Her life had been thrown away, wasted. As long as no one knew of the other path she'd hear no reproach in the world.
To her continued horror she saw the fate of her son. Like his banker father, he had seen only the seemingly direct approach to success. Looking for the easy way he signed on as a security agent for an oil company in the Middle East. What skills in life he could not sell, he cared for not. But in his pursuit of "winning" he'd been gunned down by friendly fire. His life too had been thrown away, he'd been taught well.
How to have faith? How to trust life? She had to get her precious things or she'd die. But now she knew she need get her things only through love or she'd die anyway. Everything she hated about feeling trapped she passed on to her children. Even so, had she merely confided in them, they might have bypassed her errors in life. But the lure of appearing responsible and honest prevented that. What's ever the point of lying?
What is point of the world believing you're successful when you're not? Where's the benefit? So she could keep her things? Well, she lost her things anyway! Why had she ever walked away from her dreams? So she'd never have to fear looking like a fool? But how foolish her dead poisoned body must have looked when discovered by a shocked and horrified family? All the universe had laid waiting before her.
How simple to see now: life is love.
Slowly, she ascended back to the cloud. "May I please go back?"
"Yes, only those who request it ever go. But of course your memory will be wiped clean of all this so that you may be reborn."
"I have to make amends. I can't live with this. This is hell! I won't forsake my dreams this time!"
"I understand your words. But know this: that's what you said last time."