Even in Junior High, when my friends and I would write words with hairspray and then light 'em up, something always went wrong. Maybe we just spelled disaster--no pun intended.
One day when the sun beat down and the winds blew dry, a girl lost her eyebrows. I bet she still draws them on, poor girl. The sad thing is, that's almost scarier than Hell.
(I mean, look at this girl.)
Anyway, I've always worried about going to Hell. When I was five, I used to get saved twice a week; once at Sunday school and once during the main service.
But now that I've been saved--A LOT--I still dream about Hell and being judged. I looked it up once; the book said I have a fear of mortality. I even asked a dream expert. I told him my dreams are always VERY vibrant.
"I've even dreamed in clay," I said. And it's true. My sister's hair looked like black licorice (just more doughy), and my brother's lips looked like Angelina Jolie's (just off-white).
The dream expert looked at me somberly and said, "Clay dreams are either a sign of genius . . . or insanity."
"How do I know what I am?" I asked.
"Isn't it obvious?" he asked and walked away.
I felt bad for myself, like an insane sinner THAT day.
I'm writing all of this because last night I had another dream. Maybe it's because I've been thinking about Zeke. I had someone tell me recently that I shouldn't worry about going to Hell; I should just do the best I can. He said I have my very own fan in Heaven, a little boy who's cheering for me every day saying, "You can do it. I'll see you again!"
But it isn't that easy. I want to go to Heaven, I really do. It's because my two greatest desires are to meet God and Zeke.
After I die, if God can spare two seconds to see me, I'd like to play Him a song I wrote on the violin. It's just piddly (since I am human and all), but at least I have a gift ready to give Him--how man people plan that far ahead?
Then, if I get to see Zeke, I'll wear boots and waders so we can go fishing. I just won't kill any fish since the creatures in Heaven don't like dying twice.
Anyway, in my dream, no one stands at the gates to Heaven, so I just walk through uninvited. But there's a massive building waiting on the other side of the gates. The building's doors are huge, heavy and shining. I walk through and it reminds me of where Zeus would live on Mt. Olympus.
After I go in, a ton of people gather and form a circle. They invite me to stand in the very center. They're all the people I've loved and missed. Every one of them looks at me and I feel a bit sad thinking how many people I've lost over twenty-eight short years. I scan their faces, looking and searching for Zeke, but he's the only one not there, him and God.
When I see my grandma, I run to her. I give her this huge hug and she laughs. "You always were such a hoot," she says.
"Do you remember the last thing you told me before you died?" I ask, because she meant so much to me. She was my second mother, and I miss her dearly. "I asked you, how can I live without you, and you said, the same way I'll exist without you, we'll just 'make do'. Why did you say that?"
"Because I knew you'd always wonder."
I scoff and the woman actually pinches my cheeks before doubling over with laughter.
"So, why are we here?" I look around, not even thinking about talking to all the other people I've loved and missed.
"We're here to intercede for you, so you won't go to Hell."
I thought that was Jesus's job, but realize maybe He was surfing in Maui or something. I feel kind of abandoned then, like I should have said the sinners' prayer a few more times. Maybe I should have thought about the cross more, bought one of those Catholic necklaces--something!
I stew in my worries and we all wait for a very long time. I keep peeking at the people there. A few of them wave and smile, but others look like they won't pass a favorable decree. So, my spirit feels warm and flushed as we wait, until suddenly a presence descends down through the roof of the building and toward us.
I can't see anything, but I know it's the presence of God. Then, instead of staying reverent and quiet, I rush over to Him because I'm excited. "I've always wanted to meet you," I say. "I mean really, you're more famous than Elvis."
God doesn't even laugh. "I knew you'd say that," He says dryly like that comedian Christopher Walken
"Why isn't Zeke here?" I suddenly ask.
The presence feels so kind in that moment, like I've talked about someone extremely pure and special. Tears fill my eyes just thinking about my boy, the one who was too good to live on Earth for more than a short time.
God's non-judgmental voice sifts through my being and my thoughts. "If you saw your son, you'd seek death more than life. One of your greatest desires is to meet him again, face to face.
"I love you, Elisa. I love all of creation. Don't doubt my omniscient love."
The presence of God breathes on me after that, this warm, minty breath. "Go back to your family," He says. "Your time to be judged will come later. Right now, this . . . is your time to live."