Part Three in the series, My Summer Vacation2010.
After receiving communion, I thanked the priest, then Juan Diego tugged at my shirt. “Come, the plane is waiting for us.”
“Okay, but where is it?” I replied, as he led me deeper into the empty field. The air was cool and thin. I could smell a hint of hemlock and pine sap so I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to smell it better. When I reopened my eyes, to my surprise there was a small plane in front of us. The hatch was opening, and then the stairs came down.
“Follow me” said Juan Diego as he climbed the stairs.
Once inside, a lovely blond stewardess greeted me and hugged Juan Diego. The plane was full of passengers but the front row was vacant.
Another attendant ran up to us, “Hurry up! We have been waiting for you quite some time; we should have left eons ago.”
“I know, I know” replied Juan Diego, “but these humans have no sense of timing. We’re ready.”
Inside, the plane was strangely quiet. As if he read my mind Juan Diego said, “They are praying and preparing themselves for the journey. You should too.”
“But where are we going?” I asked.
“Where do most people go on their summer vacations?”We’re going to visit family, immortal family.”
“Wait a minute; I don’t think I’m ready for this!” And to myself I thought, ‘Get me out of here!’
“Well, get ready! The Boss wants you on this plane.” Don’t worry you’ll go back, this is just a vacation.
Dear God, please help me.
Relax, I won’t expose you to more than I think you can handle. I never have.
True, but what am I doing here? Who are these other people?
They are aspiring immortals that are going to visit the second level of reality. This is not a dream, or fantasy or even that hyper-imagination you see in the movies. You must open your mind and heart wider; quiet yourself and trust Me. You have had practice, now apply what you learned. This vacation will prepare you for the eventual loss of your blood-filled body.
I wondered if God meant that I would see my mother and father again. Then I thought about the rich man in hell who asked Father Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers and how Abraham said that a great chasm had been fixed so that no one can cross from heaven to hell, but he didn’t say no one could go from life to life without passing through death. I wondered what my immortal family would look like. Then I realized that trying to imagine the near future was a waste of time. I had to open up, to be able to receive the experience. Open up. I think that meant I had to be prepared for super-reality; I was about to see a spectrum of light and sound that isn’t possible for mortals.
While penetrating my soul with these thoughts I was shaken by the resounding boom of thunder and a burst of white lightning that sent shivers of terror through my body. I grabbed Juan Diego’s hand and held it tight. Oddly, the fear reminded me of the many times the Lord challenged me to trust Him, when we had no money to pay our bills, when we lost work that we desperately needed, when we were tossed out of rental homes with nowhere to go and no money to pay for the next house or the move. In my mind, I reentered the moment when after years of disappointments and struggle, I finally I realized that I could let go of my haunting anxiety. Not because bad things would stop happening, but because it wouldn’t kill me if they did; no matter what happened I would cling to the Lord. He couldn’t shake me.
Deep in thought, I hardly noticed when Juan Diego left and another sat next to me. The switch finally registered, so I turned to look at the man with a flowing long beard and deep green eyes. He looked at me waiting patiently for acknowledgement.
“Hulloo, my name is Elijah the Tishbite from Tishbe in Gilead.” He said with a thick accent.
“Elijah! What are you doing here?”
“I am the pilot. The Lord chose me because I too never died, just lek my passengers. I must hep prepare first-timers to overcome the knee-jerk reaction to dramatic change. Some have experience, such as sudden death of a loved one or an accident, others dunt. Opening to God’s vill is ability to pass through the fog and through the fire. Your experience was in a different area of trust, you must be able to translate that; get ready. The storm was for practice.
I must get back into the cockpit now. This is your big chance; don’t panic.”
I was still so stunned by Elijah’s presence and his message that I didn’t even acknowledge Juan Diego’s return, or notice that the thunder had stopped. Everything was still so quiet when once again I heard the sound of Elijah’s voice, saying:
“Stewards, prepare the cabin for landing.”