Thursday, February 28, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (26)

(a novel continued)

“I am asking you to go on a special mission. This mission will take you into dangerous territory. I am sending a band of angels with you. But, first you must be fully equipped. Think before you answer.”
Minnie thought for a whole minute, “I want to do whatever you ask Lord.”
“Very good.”
“What is the mission?” Minnie dared to ask.
“You are not ready to hear. But, from this time forward, your spiritual ears and your spiritual eyes will grow increasingly sharp. Your capacity to love will grow. I love you Minnie and I will always be with you in the person of my Holy Spirit.”
God the Father set Minnie down on the golden road just outside the city and Jesus His Son transported with her back to the cottage door. And then Jesus was gone.
Hershal had wings. Minnie sat at the table relating her journey to him from start to finish. She told him every detail, even the parking spot prayers. Hershal smiled his Hershal smile as she talked and he prepared a heavenly hashwhich melted in Minnie’s mouth. “Hershal, what do you think God is asking me to do?”
“If I knewwhich I don’twhy would I tell you? God doesn’t want you to know for a very good reason. He is God. Trust Him completely.”
“Of course youre right, Hershal. And, I have never trusted Him as much as I do now.”
Minnie hadn’t worried all that day. This felt good. It was good. “I want to stay here forever, Hershal.”
“That, I can tell you, certainly won’t be happening.”
“How do you know?”
“Haven’t you read your Bible?”
“I have. Three times a day, every day of my life as long as I can remember.”
“Then you should know that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The old will pass away. Everything you see here will be replaced with a heaven more glorious and everything you see on earth...same thing. I can't even imagine the things God has in store for mankind.”
Minnie thought about that. Of course she remembered reading words to that effect. She hadn't thought about them much. She didn’t remember a single sermon on the subject of a new heaven and she had been going to church since her baptism as an infant. What was it the Bible said about the second coming of the Lord?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (25)

(a novel continued)

“Our Father is waiting for us,” Jesus said. “We could transport directly to His throne, or I could take you in through the city gates.”
“The gates of the heavenly Jerusalem?”
“The very gates....”
“Oh, let’s enter by the gates.”
Within seconds they were standing on the golden road which lead into a round pearl as big as a two-storey house set in a large dazzling jewelled wall. As they approached the pearl, Minnie realized the pearl was open: they could walk right through it. Inside the city she saw mansions galore, each one different, each as beautiful as the last. Jewels abounded. Men and angels were everywhere, yet Minnie didn’t feel the least crowded. The golden path led steadily upward, mansions on either side. “Who lives here?” Minnie asked.
“God himself chooses.” Jesus answered.
Minnie could hear, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” in the most heavenly chords. Layers and layers of “Holy, Holy, Holy.” As they climbed, the music grew in intensity and in beauty. Minnie who had been rather tone deaf while on earth, couldn’t contain her joy and appreciation. She looked at Jesus who shone in his excellence. Tears streamed down her face. “Jesus I love you, I love you, I love you.”
“Wipe your tears, dear one...we are almost at the throne.”
God’s throne sat on a sea of crystal, encircled by a rainbow. Minnie hardly noticed the sea or the rainbow or the thrones surrounding the throne. She couldn’t stand before the Father. He was a most heavenly Father. He shone forth love and mercy. His throne sat on justice and righteousness. She had no words to describe His everlasting beauty. Minnie fell on her face. “Oh Father...”
He scooped her up into His lap. “Minnie my child, you have come to me. What can I do for you?”
This surprised Minnie greatly. “You have done everything for me,” she said.
“I would like you to do something for me. I want you to think about it carefully before you answer.” I don’t require or request your answer today. Could you do something for me, Minnie?”
“What is it Lord? I will do anything for you.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (24)

(a novel continued)

“Surely we won’t be able to walk all that way.”
“That, we won’t. We’ll have to transport.”
“Like Philip?”
Jesus took Minnie’s hand and before she could ask any further questions, they were on the mountain looking down onto the earth through a crevice in a glacier. Jesus showed Minnie where to look. She saw a small crowded prison in North Korea. Several dozen skinny human beings dressed in rags were singing praises. One of these beings was talking to a uniformed guard with a machine gun strapped to his side. An angel opened his hands above their heads. The heavenly water flowed over the guard and the prisoner. The guard fell to his knees. “Wow.” Minnie said.
“The angels are singing and dancing,” Jesus said.
“Wow.  May I see another answer? This is so amazing. ”
Jesus took her to another crevice in the ice.
When Minnie peered down she saw a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan. He was standing at his post shaking. Little yellow demons were circling his head, whispering into his ears. The soldier looked around pointing his gun, ready to shoot in any direction. An angel flew over, pouring water onto the scene. The demons melted away. Immediately two other soldiers joined the first soldier. Together the three stood watch. 
“One more,” Minnie pleaded.
At the next crevice she saw an old woman locked in a cargo container. The woman was dressed in rags. She was lying in the container without a blanket, only her arm as a pillow. Snow covered the grass in the surrounding field. The angel entered the container with the heavenly water. He poured it over her and stretched out his wings. She curled up right there between his wings, as snug as a baby in a blanket.
Jesus and Minnie transported back to the egg-shaped puddle. The prayer meeting was just breaking up. Minnie wanted them to continue praying. She wanted so much to share what she had seen. “They might never know the answers to their prayers.” Minnie said.
“They’ll know.” Jesus left it at that and Minnie didn’t feel to question him anymore on the subject. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (23)

(a novel continued)

“Here is something you will find interesting.” Jesus was pointing at a teacup bowl as it was tipping. The cup looked earthy; without that heavenly shimmer. She knelt by the path and peered through the cup. She saw a fifty-something woman in a red minivan pulling into a parking spot right next to a handicap spot in front of a Walmart. The woman looked delighted. She seemed to be praying.
“She is thanking me for the parking spot.” said Jesus.
Minnie wondered about parking spot prayers. She had a friend who always prayed for a convenient parking spot. According to this friend, her prayers were always answered. 
Minnie usually simply enjoyed the extra walk from the back of the lot and only once or twice prayed for a spot during a rainstormto no avail. “What do you think about parking-spot prayers, Jesus?”
“What do you think I think?” he countered.
“That they are trivial.”
“Exactly why your parking lot prayers aren’t answered.”
“Are they trivial?”
Jesus smiled at her with his amazing eyes, those loving blue eyes. “I think you will have the answer to that question when I show you this next bowl.” They walked in silence for almost half an hour. They came to a shallow egg-shaped puddle. As Minnie and Jesus watched, the puddle filled and tipped easily. It filled and tipped continuously. The rain fell directly into the puddle. Minnie felt  the drizzle when she leaned over the puddle to peer down. She immediately pulled away. “I mustn’t hamper the prayers from filling the bowl.”
“Very thoughtful Minnie...if you stand here and look like this, you can see what is happening.” Jesus showed her the exact angle needed.
When Minnie stood as Jesus directed she saw a small church with a group of two dozen Christians inside. They were kneeling. As they prayed the puddle filled and each time it tipped into the cupped hands of a waiting angel. The angel would carry it away. That angel would immediately be replaced by another with cupped hands. Several dozen angels later, Minnie asked, “Where are they taking the answers?”
“We will be able to see that from a vantage point over there.” Jesus pointed to a mountain on the horizon. “Shall we go?”

Friday, February 22, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (22)

(a novel continued)
Jesus and Minnie were heading toward a circle of angels with big wings like those in pictures Minnie had seen while on earth. The Angels were singing as they peered into a tipped lake which appeared to be somewhat smaller than the empty lake in front of Minnie’s cottage.
“Why are they singing?”
“Can you guess?”
“Because a sinner repented?”
“Whose prayers tipped the lake? 
“His mother prayed 37 years. 
The angels escorted Minnie and Jesus to a viewing spot at the rim of the lake. The mother is the one with the tears running down her face,” Jesus said.
 “And, the son?” Minnie asked.
“He is on a bed. He is about to die.”
Minnie and Jesus left the angels and continued down the path.

“Why doesn’t Hershal have wings?” Minnie asked.
“He does.” Jesus said.
“Where are they? Does he take them off?”
“Your spiritual perception needs work. A few more lessons at the school with Samuel and you will be able to see Hershal’s wings.”
“Why could I see the wings on those angels?”
“You were expecting those angels who were singing like angels to be the angels you perceived them to be. You perceive Hershal as you remember him on earth when he saved your family. He presented to you in the way you would recognize him. Once your spiritual eyes are wide open, you will see him as he really is and you will also see a group of angels singing as they really are which is actually different than how you saw them just now.”
Minnie was totally fascinated by everything Jesus said. She wanted to continue asking him questions foreverjust to hear his answers. His voice was so loving and all-knowing. “I love you, Jesus.”
“I love you Minnie.”
She basked in the realization that Jesus wanted to be doing exactly what he was doing, spending time with her...Minnie who hadn’t done much of anything consequential in her whole life. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (21)

(a novel continued)

Minnie would be meeting God today. It made her feel slightly nervous. What would He say to her? Letting herself hear Him in her mind seemed slightly different than meeting Him face to face. What would she say to God? 
Minnie decided to deal with one thing at a time. “Hershal, what do the clothes look like?” 
“Come see.” Hershal handed her a large red satin case. “Everything is in this box. 
She reverently took the case to her bedroom. Inside she found a radiant white linen gown with a belt of perfect white pearls—simple and entirely elegant.
Minnie slipped into the gown. It made her feel pure—pure and royal, transformed. Joy and anticipation bubbled up inside her. 
It crossed Minnie's mind that occasions such as this required make-up. She should check the dresser for lipstick, maybe some blush. But first she opened the closet door to look in the mirror. When she saw herself she realized that in heaven make-up would be nothing but make-down.
“You are ready.” Hershal acknowledged from the other room. “Jesus is here.”

Minnie and Jesus set out on a path in a direction Minnie had not yet been. As they walked along the edge of the empty lake in front of the cottage, Minnie asked Jesus about the lake tipping and the people she had seen coming out of the various churches of her town on earth.
“Yes,” Jesus said, “you are correct in thinking that the prayers said in those churches caused the bowl to tip. The people of your town were very concerned about a law to be passed. A private member’s bill had been put forward proposing that all churches lose their charitable status. When they prayed, the bill was defeated.”

“Are there bowls for every prayer?”
“Big bowls, small bowls and the biggest bowl of all—a bowl the size of the Pacific Ocean.”
“What’s that bowl for?”
“That bowl collects the prayers for my return. It is filling up steadily.”
“When will it be full?”
“No one knows the time or the season, only Our Father.”
“I knew that,” Minnie said sheepishly.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (20)

(a novel continued)
“Breakfast,” called Hershal from the other room.
“Hershal, please could you help me pick my clothes today.”
“There’s plenty of time for that. Breakfast first, and we’ll talk.”
The table was set for one. Minnie sat. Hershal served. “These croissants are delicious. Did you make them?”
“I did.”
Minnie enjoyed two croissants spread with melted butter and raspberry jam. “Hershal, are there wordsbesides 'heavenly'to describe the tastes and smells and sounds of heaven? My earthly words don't seem adequate.
There is an entire heavenly language that will become your's soon enough. 
“Hershal, what should I wear on this important day?”
“You most certainly need special clothes. They will be here later this morning. Until then feel free to do as you like.”
“I think I'd like to look down through the lake again. When will it fill up?”
“That depends on the prayers. There seems to be a bit of a drought just now.”
Minnie wandered out to the empty lake.
The stars had disappeared. She went over to the spot from which they had been able to watch John. She missed John. What was he doing now? There he was. She could see right through the roof of their home. He was at the kitchen table, his head bowed over the Bible. Dear, sweet John. He looked so very sad. She prayed, “Lord comfort John. Let him know I’m all right.” As she spoke, she felt a raindrop, then another. She fell on her knees beside the almost empty lake. “Dear Lord,” she wept.
When she finally got up from her knees, the puddle in the lake had turned into more of a pool and  John seemed less sad. She watched him lean over to tie his shoe. 

Minnie spent the rest of the morning in the backyard where she was totally surprised to meet Hetta. She was sure this was Hetta. 
She threw a stick. “Go fetch Hetta.” He caught the stick in the air exactly as she remembered him doing. He brought her the stick and nuzzled up to her. “You remember me don’t you Hetta?” He barked his very distinct German Shepherd bark. “Wait till John finds out you are here. He will be so tickled.”
“Hershal, this is Hetta, isn’t it?” she called out to Hershal, who appeared even before she said his name. 
“It is.” He smiled his broad loving angel smile. “ And, by the way, your God-meeting clothes have just arrived.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (19)

(a novel continued)

After her Mom and Dad had gone, Minnie strolled over to the edge of the empty lake. The puddle at the bottom was still small. She looked down through the bottom of the lake and saw a million stars twinkling. She stood entranced for a very long time. “It’s so beautiful.”
“I made it that way,” God said.

When Minnie entered the cottage, Hershal was sitting by the fireplace, a book in his hand. She wondered what he could be reading, but didn’t want to ask, not wanting to be impolite. 
“I’m reading a book written by your daughter.” Hershal volunteered.
“Do you have another?”
“But, but she is in that cult...surely a book from a cult-member wouldn’t be allowed in heaven.”
“I’m going to let you in on a little secretdon’t worry God knowshe told me to share this with you.”
Minnie sat in the chair opposite Hershal at the fireplace. She stared into the fire. Then she looked at Hershal, “I figured a book like that should be burned.
“How do you know what’s in this book? Have you ever read it? In fact I know you haven’t read it.”
“I've read her book and it's junk, brain-washed junk. She talks about a silver chord and blindly following your leader as a loyal armour-bearer no matter whatgood or bad, it’s all goodshe has been deluded.”
“That’s not this book. This book hasn’t been written yet. What I have here is a sneak preview. In fact your daughter is about to write a most excellent piece of work.”
“May I read it?” Minnie ventured.
“Well, that wouldn’t be wise. It’s enough for you to know that this book will happen and a lot will depend on your prayers from here on. 
I am to tell you that Samuel will help you in the perfecting of your prayers. Listen carefully to his instruction.”
Minnie smiled as she studied the fire. Heaven. She liked Heaven. She especially liked not worrying. As she reviewed the various parts of this wonderful day in heaven, she drifted into a sleep.
Hershal scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom where he laid her out on the bed. That’s where she found herself in the morning, still dressed in her heavenly blue shift with the white tasselled belt.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (18)

(a novel continued)

Minnie and Samuel settled opposite each other. The blades of grass under and around them instantly wove into comfortable cushioned chairs. Minnie giggled. 
Samuel raised his hand as if testing the air, “The first thing one has to learn is to be still. Quiet your mind. Can you do that?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Now expect to hear God talking. God’s voice, his Word, holds everything together. Without his voice there would be nothing that is. When your spiritual ears are open, you can hear his voice. His is a wonderful voice full of grace and truth.”
Minnie sat still. She listened. “I don’t hear anything except a lullaby.”
“That’s God’s voice in the grass. Very good.”
“Okay, ask God a question. Ask him what he wants you to know. My first time, I said, 'Speak Lord, your servant is listening'.”
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” She waited.
In her mind she heard very distinctly, “Minnie, I love you.”
“I love you too Lord. Oh, how I love You.”
“Ask him what he wants you to know,” Samuel coached.
“Lord, what do you want me to know?”
“I will trust you with a task Minnie. Your time here is a preparation time. Use it wisely. Know that Samuel is an excellent of the very best. Trust him. Learn from him.”
“Oh Lord, I will do whatever you say.”
“Now, wasn’t that easy?” Samuel said.
The hour flew by as Samuel taught. He told Minnie that listening to God in heaven was much easier than listening to Him on earth where the enemy was constantly interfering. “Many of us got into trouble back there when the enemy deceived us into thinking he was God talking. Well, the enemy is totally banned from heaven and that is why this place is heavenly.”
The class ended when they saw Minnie’s parents coming around the stand of trees. “I’ll meet you again tomorrow in this very place,” Samuel said. “By then we’ll know what the next lesson is to be about.”
Minnie’s parents walked with her back to the cottage.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (17)

(a novel continued)

Minnie and her parents said good-bye to Hershal and strolled, hand-in-hand in the direction Minnie had come with Jesus that morning. 
“The school is held in a big meadow,” Dad said.
“It’s a beautiful place,” Mom added.
They walked on, each deep in their own thoughts. 
Dad was thinking how good it was to be with his daughter again. He silently prayed that her brothers and sisters would all join them someday. His children and most of their children seemed to be on the right path, as much as he could tell from his vantage point in heaven, but sometimes looks were deceptive. He wasn't God. He couldn't look into their hearts.
Mom was simply enjoying the moment completely. Joy, joy, joy...she sometimes felt like she would burst with it. Heaven continually became more beautiful. And, one never ran out of time. 
Minnie was full of questions. Would she be able to hear that lovely music again? Would school really be 'wonderful'? What would it be like to meet God? 
Minnie kept these questions inside. She didn't want her parents to answer everything. She didn’t want to be their little child again. She wanted to experience this as the grown-up Minnie.
“Here’s the school,” Dad announced.
They were in the middle of the meadow where Minnie had first found herself. “ I've already been here. There isn't a school here.”
“We’ll just sit here quietly waiting. You’ll see...” Mom said.
They sat in the lush, green grass. They waited. Minnie thought she heard the lovely music again. It was very faint and sounded like a lullaby. 
“Where are the thousands of students?” Minnie asked.
“They are just on the other side of that stand of trees.” Dad said. “Mom and I will be going there as soon as your tutor comes. Your first class is always an orientation with the tutor.”
Oh, this must be him, Mom said. They watched a tall thin man approaching. 
They stood to greet him. The man walked up to Minnie and shook her hand, “Hello, you must be Minnie. I'm Samuel. I understand you want a lesson on hearing. 
Hearing is all about listening. I was taught as a young boy. Once you have your spiritual ears opened, you are set for life evermore.” He smiled, "Have a seat."  
Minnie didn't even notice her parents leave.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (16)

(a novel continued)

“How do we pray?”
“Much like we were taught on earth,” Dad said. “Except here we are much wiser about our prayers. At least I am. Now I know what’s not important. Too many of my prayers on earth were a waste of breath.”
Be with Minnie.
“Isn’t that a good prayer?”
“Good, though ineffective. God was already with you. I could have been praying that you would be paying attention to Him.” Her father hugged her. 
Her father had already hugged her more times in heaven in one day than he had the thirty years they’d been together on earth.

“Dad and I are actually going to school again,” Mom said.
“At the newcomer’s school.”
“But, you’ve both been here at least five years.”
“There’s a lot we didn’t get on earth. We go an hour every day...usually right after supper. It’s wonderful. Do you want to come?”
“I can just come?”
“There’s room for everyone. There are thousands taking these classes. On earth most of us neglected or misunderstood God even if we had five translations of his Word in front of us. 
We're getting ready for the New Heaven and the New Earth,” Dad said. 
“When will that be?”
“If you read your Bible you would know that no one knowsnot even Hershal.” 
“Well God knows,” Mom said.
“Do you want to come to school?” Dad asked again.
“When does it start?”
“All the time.” Mom said. “We can go any time, day or night. It’s always light here.”
“Then how is there day and night?”
“Well there is. The music changes at night. Oh, you probably don’t hear the music, yet. You’ll have to take a few classes on opening spiritual ears. I loved those classes.” Mom said.
“I heard music when I first came, when I was with Jesus,” said Minnie. She listened quietly. Not now...I don’t hear anything now. Do you hear music?”
“Oh, yes,” Mom said, “It’s all around us. Even the grass is singing.”
“I do want to hear it again.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (15)

(a novel continued)

“Will we see Jesus again soon?” Minnie's heart expanded with longing. His smile, his touch, his pure love flooded her memory. 
“You’ll probably see him again before you meet anyone else,” Hershal said. “He’s coming early in the morning to take you to the Father.”
Minnie’s parents smiled knowingly.
I'm going to see God? In the morning? Minnie couldn't fathom the idea. She had never in her life seen a picture of God. What do you wear when you go to God?”
“Well, this first time you will want to wear white,” Hershal said.
“Could you help me pick the right clothes, Hershal?”
He frowned. Then he smiled. “Okay, this old angel can help with that.”

Minnie felt strangely nervous. She didn't like the feeling. It felt like worry. Yes, this was that old familiar worry. Now that she had been without it for the better part of a day, she realized how wonderful it was not to worry. 
Her mind overflowed with questions. Why was she going to see God? Did he want something? Where would she see him? He was everywhere. Would she see him everywhere? 
Why did she feel like such a child? Was it because she was with her parents? 
Why was she worrying? Was she really in heaven if she was worrying? She looked all around her. The telescopic lake, the dream cottage, her young parents, Hershal...this definitely wasn't earth if it wasn't heaven.

Dad moved further down the lakeshore. “From here you can see John” he announced.
Minnie hurried to his side. He pointed, “See there.”
Yes, she could see John. He walked slowly with his head down. “Of course, he misses me. If only I could tell him I'm right here.” 
She cupped her hands over her mouth and shouted down, “John I’m okay. I love you.” John actually looked up. Minnie almost cried when she saw his sad face. 
“How can I help him?” She looked at Hershal. 
Minnie's mother put her arm around her. “He must know you are here, honey. He misses you.” 
“I want to go to him.”
“You can’t sweetheart, but you can pray for him.”
“Pray from here?”
“Of course, Dad said, “It’s one of the main things we do. We’re always interceding for those back on earth. We are cheering them on. Every last one of them is still in the race. Every one of them is on a road headed here, or over to the other side. We want them all here. Here, with Jesus is where they belong.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (14)

(a novel continued)

“Let’s see whose prayers were just answered,” Mom said.
“Whose prayers?” Minnie asked.
“Yes,” Hershal said. “The raindrops in heaven are the prayers of the people on earth. That warm drizzleprayers of thanksgiving. If you look in the right places you’ll discover whose prayers have just been answered.”
They each peered down from different spots along the edge of the giant telescopic bowl. 
"That's my town!" Minnie said. "Right there, that's Haven." 
“I see something interesting in your town.” Dad said.
They crowded round. “See, there,” he pointed to a group of children. The children were laughing and jumping and patting each other on the back.
“They’re just happy because school it out,” Minnie said. “Notice the school bus.”
“I see it, I see it,” Mom said. “Look there,” she pointed.
She was pointing at a church. The church bell was ringing. People were streaming out, faces beaming. 
“They are certainly happy about something,” Hershal said.
“It must have been a prayer meeting,” Dad said.
"Must have been pretty important to hold a prayer meeting in the middle of the day." Mom said.
“Which church is it?” asked Minnie.
“Why does that matter?” Mom said.
“Because different churches pray about different things,” Minnie said.
“It’s St. John’s United,” Hershal said.
“That doesn't help,” admitted Minnie. “I don’t know anything about St. John’s United.
“Look over at the Catholic Church,” Dad said. “There is a flock of happy people coming out of that one as well.”
“And the Anglican Church,” Mom said.
“Look, even the Christian Reformed people are coming out very happy,” Minnie said.
“And Heritage Baptist,” Dad said.
“Must have been a mighty big prayer need,” Hershal said. “Jesus will know. You can ask him.” 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (13)

“What is bowl-tipping time?” Minnie asked.
“Watch.” Dad said.
Mom, Dad and Hershal looked like children on Christmas morning.
“There it goes,” Hershal said. He literally danced to the front window. The three others followedforgoing their feast of fish and fries.
The lake outside wobbled. The whole, wide lake dipped to the left, a layer of water slipped out and splashed down over the lip and out of sight. 
The rain on the lake increased in intensity. The lake tipped again, this time to the right. More water slipped out. Then a deluge of rain.
"I've never seen so much rain," Dad said.  
Each time the lake tipped one way or the other, the angle grew and more water splashed out. Now the rain pelted down in sheets. Suddenly the lake tipped completely and emptied, then settled back into place.  The rain slowed  to a gentle drizzle. A dazzlingly bright rainbow filled the entire sky.
“You say that a lot,” Dad said.

“We must check the window. This is the best time to look through it,” Hershal said.
“Yes, of course,” Mom agreed.
“Isn’t this the window?” Minnie asked.
“We’re talking about the window of heaven.” Dad said.
They went outside. The gentle rain felt surprisingly warm and welcoming. Minnie wanted to run everywhere at oncelike a little child. In fact she did run up and down the lawn, dancing and twirling around her parents much as she had as a child. Her parents simply smiled, no doubt remembering when they had first come to heaven.
“We’re inside the rainbow. This is so awesome,” said Minnie.
They stopped at the edge of the empty lake. The hint of a puddle was forming at the base of what looked to Minnie like a giant clear glass bowl.
“Look through the glass,” Hershal said.
“Ohhhh,” Minnie said. The lake bottom had become the lens of a telescope. She could see the earth clearly.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (12)

(a novel continued)
“Supper’s on,” called Hershal.
When Minnie came to the dining area, there were two people sitting at the table and they weren't Hershall and Jesus. Hershal was standing beside the table with a napkin over his arm and a bottle of wine in his hand. The man and the woman seated at the table looked to be in their thirties, a young and improved version of  her parents. 
“Mom? Dad?
Her parents grinned at her, pushed their chairs back and immediately the three were in one great group hug. “Wow, wow, wow.” Minnie was too excited to say anything else.
“Let’s sit and have a visit,” said Dad, ever the practical one.
“It is so good to see you.” Mom beamed.
Dad pulled back a chair for Minnie.
Hershal served the wine. 
"Fish and chips," Minnie said, "I love fish and chips."
"We know," Mom said. 
Minnie had never tasted food so good. 
She plied her parents with questions about heaven. "What do you do all day? How often do you see Jesus. Have you seen God? Do you have a personal angel?"
"Time enough for all that," Dad said. "What have you been doing with yourself back there on earth? Using your time wisely?" 
“Oh, we've been cheering you and the grand kids on,” Mom said.
“Look, it’s beginning to rain.” Dad said.
“Wonderful,” Mom said.
“Looks like close to bowl-tipping time.” Hershal said. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (11)

Hershal set the table with place settings for three.
“Who’s coming to dinner?” Minnie asked.
“You’ll see. Maybe, you’d like to freshen up. Your bedroom is through that door.”
Minnie headed toward the door specified. She had never felt so fresh in all her life, but she was curious about the bedroom. A very pleasant bedroom it was with a big inviting bed and a reading nook by the window which looked out onto the lake. 
Minnie sat down on the soft bed. A dresser stood beside the bed. She got up and each drawer slid open in turn as she thought about looking inside. The dresser held all manner of clothes—clothes in her favourite colours and styles—more beautiful clothes than she had ever owned. 
She  found even grander clothes in the closet. What should she wear for dinner? Who would be coming? Maybe Jesus? She couldn't get enough of Jesus. 
She decided on a blue linen shift with a white tasselled belt. The dress fit perfectly. She twirled in front of the full-length three-dimensional mirror positioned just inside the closet door. 
My, she looked good. All of her looked good. She had lost about 20 pounds, her muscle tone was fabulous, her blonde hair shone—she simply glowed with health. Wow. If John could see her now....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (10)

(a novel continued)

“What a wonderful place,” Minnie said to herself.
The cottage door opened and Hershal appeared. Minnie recognized him as someone familiar, 
someone she might have seen, somewhere. 
Hershal shook her hand, “Welcome, to your home.” He smiled and then she knew. 

Yes, he was the man who came to the door and told the family the Germans were coming. Minnie's brothers would have to disappear. Minnie remembered it as if it were yesterday. She was twelve, at home with her parents in The Netherlands. 
The Germans had taken over their country. Each of her three brothers had been conscripted. Of course they wouldn't willingly go to work in the German munitions factories as ordered. They went into hiding somewhere in the Dutch countryside instead. Minnie never knew where, either did her parents. It was better that way. 
That day, the day this man had come to the door, her brothers happened to be at home. They had surprised her father by quietly coming to celebrate his 50th birthday.
A neighbour must have reported them. If it hadn't been for this man who came to the door (who smiled at her as she stared at him from the back of the room) her brothers could have been shot. As it was, they got away in a nick of time. 
She never knew who the man was or where he came from. Minnie had always thought of him as an angel. It hadn't occurred to her that he could be a real heavenly being.

Now, Hershal invited her in. “This will be your home for the next little while.”
Minnie loved her home immediately. The layout, the furniture, everything right down to the pictures on the walls were exactly what she would have chosen, yet better than she could have arranged. 
Framed pictures of John and her three children stood on the mantle. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (9)

(a novel continued)
“Let’s go see the place you’ll be staying while you are here,” Jesus said. 
They strolled across the green, green grass, toward music, lovely, far beyond any music Minnie had ever heard. Each note sounded perfect and clear. Evermore varied flowers appeared to her left and to her right, their soft petals brushing up against her ankles. A fragrance sweet and truly heavenly wafted in and out from among the blooms. 
Then Jesus led her through a wooded area and suddenly they were in a village. “This will be your home during your stay,” he said as he led her to a cottage at the side of a small lake. “You won’t be lonely here.” He had anticipated her next thought. 
Minnie stood with her hand in Jesus’ hand beside the lake, at the foot of a cobblestone path which curved through a bed of the most delicate, blue forget-me-nots, leading up to the white door of the grey stone cottage. Blue and yellow roses climbed on trellises around a large gleaming front window.
“This is my cottage?” Minnie stood in wonder. “It's exactly what I wanted all my life.”
Jesus smiled a knowing smile. “Hershal, your angel, is taking care of things here. He knows what you like.” Jesus kissed her hand and was gone. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (8)

a novel 

If Minnie thought it was tough being a mother when the kids were little, it was even tougher when they grew up. Little children came with little worries, big children brought big worries. Minnie knew this to be true.
Billy grew up and joined the air force. Minnie worried about the country going to war. Mary grew up and joined a cult. Minnie worried. George grew up and married another man. 

But, here in heaven Minnie wasn’t worried. She couldn’t make herself worry. 
She looked all around. Joy and contentment and peace permeated everything. The feelings were as rich and as tangible as the grass and the flowers.
She set out toward a vivid rainbow in a flowered field. That’s where she met Jesus in person. He seemed to be leaning on the rainbow. Minnie recognized him immediately. His eyes were wonderful blue penetrating eyes. She wanted to look at him forever, to be with him forever. He didn’t have to say anything. She sensed his kindness, his goodness, and his love for her. 

“Welcome to heaven, Minnie,” Jesus extended his hand. “I’d like nothing better than to personally show you around.”
“But, you must have so many other things to do.”
“Not today; today is for you. What would you like to see first?” Jesus gently took her hand in his.
“Everything is so truly beautiful, even my legs are beautiful, you can show me anything,” Minnie said. Love for Jesus flooded her soul.
“Is there someone here, you would like to visit?” he asked.
“Just you really.”  Minnie honestly couldn’t think of anyone else. 
“Let’s just take a stroll, then.” Jesus was still holding her hand. That’s when she noticed the nail holes. She felt the scar around the edge of the hole in his palm.
“That’s okay,” he chuckled. “You’re not the first to be fascinated with those holes. My father offered to cover them up, but we decided to keep them where they are. We don’t want you, or anyone else, to forget the big price we had to pay to get you here. The cross was one very worthwhile venture, but I wouldn't want to do it again.”
“Thank-you, Lord.” 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (7)

a novel 

After the fox incident Minnie acknowledged—in her head anyway—that she wouldn't have to worry quite so much about her children. They knew to pray. This acknowledgement lasted a few days. 
That very Saturday afternoon, she lost track of eight-year-old Mary. She’d gone off for a bike ride early in the afternoon and hadn't returned. 
Minnie sent Billy out to look for her. He returned, “I rode up and down the whole road. She’s not anywhere. Can I go play now?” Obviously he wasn't worried.
About an hour later Mary came pushing her big blue bike with the balloon tires up the driveway, her pant-leg torn and bloody. Mary’s very white face was covered in dry blood.
“What happened to you?”
“I did what Billy said.”
She dropped her bike on the side lawn and sat on the front step. Minnie sat beside her. “What did Billy say?”
Billy who was playing with the new dog in the side yard came over, “Yeah, what did I say?”
“You said it was really fun if you take your bike to the top of the hill, coast halfway down and then pedal like crazy to the bottom. My bike started shaking before I even reached the bottom. And I didn't even start pedaling until I was almost all the way down. I had my brakes on for the whole first part.” She looked at Billy in accusation.
“I didn't mean to start at the very top. That would be stupid.” Billy went back to playing with the dog.
Minnie cleaned Mary up and sent her to bed. 
She worried that Mary might have a concussion so she woke her up every 15 minutes. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (6)

a novel 
When the reports of rabies came around, Minnie sat her children down and told them to carry a big stick all the way to school and to stay together. She charged 10-year-old Billy with the care of his younger sister and brother. Then she prayed. She prayed for their safety.
The very next day at suppertime the kids excitedly related how Billy had saved them from the fox who was sitting halfway up the big hill beside the road. Six-year-old George was the first to see the fox. Mary probably would have walked right past, none the wiser if her brothers hadn’t stop her. Bill waved his stick. The fox sat, eyeing them.
They were sure it was rabid. “Foxes just don’t sit beside the road halfway up a hill waiting for three little kids,” Billy explained in his most grown-up voice. 
That bit of road was very narrow. There was a cliff up behind the fox and the other side of the road sloped down into the valley. Billy took his place between his siblings and the fox. It didn’t occur to any of them to turn around and head home. Missing school wasn’t an option. Being late for school wouldn’t do. Billy stuck his stick out toward the fox and whispered to his sister and brother, “Pray.” The other two immediately knelt down right there in the middle of the road, closed their eyes and prayed. When they opened their eyes the fox had disappeared.
“He went that way.” Billy pointed in the direction the children had come.
“We weren’t even late,” Billy announced at supper time.