A glaring light pierced my eyes as I tried to open them. I could not - it hurt too much. I left them closed for a little while. The light grew dimmer, slowly, like the sun as it fades behind the landscape, disappearing into space, with no sign left of it but a subtle shine.
I slowly opened my eyes, just in case the light was too harsh. It was the opposite of that. Warm and inviting, it felt as though a large amount of happiness was put into a small box, and I was there wrapped within it. All around me was a cozy, sunset glow. I could not see very far ahead, and I had a feeling there wasn't much else out there but the wonderful light.
I tried to look for myself: my legs, my arms, or perhaps a reflection. But there was nothing. I could not see or feel my body. All I felt was the light. I then realized maybe I am the light, or a part of it. I knew this feeling could not last very long, so I decided not to think too much, and, instead, tried to enjoy it, as if I was lying on a beach, trying to soak in the last rays of sunlight, before the sun left the Earth.
Although I was enjoying myself, I could not help but wonder if this was the next dimension after Geeshgawoodiooki? Did this dimension only contain the affectionate bliss I found myself in? What could I possibly learn from something so simple? Shouldn't there be another guide? Another lesson? Maybe this was the lesson: that I had to learn to be calm and enjoy the rays. I must have harder lessons to learn than that. I was getting frustrated now.
The light disappeared, and I was left in darkness. Scared now, my heart started pumping faster. My arms appeared, then my legs. I touched my face. Darkness still surrounded me, as I began to fly in the black space. I knew it would not last, and I would fall. My fear was overpowering me. I didn't know what to do. I was dropping slowly into the darkness. My body was appearing darker and darker. Out of instinct, I said quietly to myself, light all around me, guide me, protect me and love me. Nothing happened. I kept saying it. It wasn't until the tenth time, that I appeared back in the comfortable blanket of light.
Oochoo, Goasila and Harmony appeared in front of me. “Did you learn something now dear child?” Harmony asked me with a smirk.
“Um. Don't expect too much?”
“There is no need to yell Goasila. Give the kid a chance.” Oochoo told him calmly.
“I think, uh... I think maybe appreciate the light?”
“Yes, but more.” Harmony spoke sweetly.
“Appreciate the light, and slow down.”
“Yes, you need to appreciate and love the light, and how you do that is by slowing down. Remember that gift we gave you, to stop time?”
“Well, we hoped you would use it to slow yourself down., to take everything in and appreciate it. As you know, life is short. You can't waste your time with all of these useless thoughts.”
“You can hear my thoughts while I am on Earth?”
“Yes. And we gave you this experience to reinforce this lesson. It is a crucial lesson to learn if you want to pick up the little details in your investigation. Also, it will prepare you for your job later on, and your experiences in other dimensions. The others are much slower than Earth, especially now. Earth is very fast paced. As you saw, in Geeshgawoodiooki, people took their time. And even in the resting place, people have to be patient before they can go to the next stage. I know it is hard for you to understand, especially being so young.”
“I understand. But it is easier to understand than to do. My mind spins so fast sometimes.”
“I have seen you rest your mind though. You have a great gift, but you must learn to look for it when your mind starts to spin, alright?”
“And, Elizabeth, you can use that gift to help you do it.” Oochoo suggested.
“But I thought you said those were only for emergencies.”
“When your mind starts to spin and you worry, and you think negatively, that is an emergency.” We all laughed a little. I think they were like me once.
“We are now going to leave you in this wonderful light. Practice centering yourself, while appreciating and loving what is all around you.” They all disappeared. I said once more, “Light all around me, guide me, protect me and love me.” I was, again, one with the light. I could not tell for how long, and I tried not to guess. I did what they asked, and let myself be. Time passed and passed, but the light never went away. If a thought passed my mind, it was positive and full of love, for Ruth, my family, friends, strangers, and the world. If something negative started brewing, I remembered what was all around me.
When I felt no separation, between myself and the light, something changed. I felt as though chains had been lifted off my limbs, and that I was now soaring in a clear sky. I felt much different than I did on Earth, where it seemed other people had the power to put limitations on you. I felt no physical or mental barriers holding me back. When I looked around, all I saw were smiling faces. Not one person or creature had a sad, angry, frustrated, or negative facial expression.
“Hello there. Miss Elizabeth, is it? You are not here to stay, am I right?” A plump, very friendly woman, with a very large smile on her face, approached me. I looked at her for a few moments before answering to see if that smile would dissipate but it did not.
“My name is Amazinglyfantastical, but you can call me Mazfanny.”
“It is pleasure to meet you, Mazfanny. May I ask, where am I?”
“Of course you can ask, and you just did!” She belted out a jolly laugh. I couldn't help but smile. “You are in Awesome world! Where everything is awesome and amazing!”
I wondered if this was a joke. Was I in some comedy show? “You are definitely not in some comedy show, Miss Lizzy. But if you wish to see one, I can show you one.”
“No, that is okay, Mazfanny. What else is it that you do here?”
She continued to smile excitedly. “Well! I will show you.” She bounced around in circles three times, and we appeared right outside of what looked like an amusement park. “Here is where people who love things like roller-coasters and spinning rides go.” She bounced around again three times. We appeared to be in an ice cream parlour. “Here is where people who love ice cream and other sweets go. I spend most of my time here.” She laughed her jolly laugh again, with extra bounciness.
This place was great! It was all about fun, and having a good time. I couldn't believe something like this existed. I thought about how some people think that heaven is a place where you get unlimited things that you desired while you were alive, and I found out there is some truth to that. If people really knew that, they probably wouldn't be so afraid of death.
“You’re right, they wouldn't. But remember Elizabeth, you don't just get a free pass. You have to earn it. And you will not spend eternity here, more like a month's time, half a year at most. Of course it isn't that amount of time, but it feels like it. There is only so much fun stuff you can take.”
“I don't know about that. I would love to stay here forever.” I said, doubting her claim.
“That is what most people think. But after you have ridden every ride and eaten every flavour of ice cream, what would you do then?” She still had a great big grin, but her eyes were now more inquisitive. I had to think for a bit on that one. I could say that I can always find something new to enjoy, but that may not be true.
“Well, Mazfanny. I thought about it and you bring up a good point. I guess there is only so much greatness out there and, after experiencing it all, over and over again, it could get boring. And, maybe finding it boring makes you think that there is more to life than just fun and games?”
Her smile grew even larger now, along with her eyes. “You are correct. And discovering what that is, is part of your goal now, Elizabeth. Games, theatres, candy, rides are all great, but it can only bring temporary joy. Here the souls already know that and that is why they have come here. It is their reward for knowing, recognizing and appreciating something greater. That is why many don't stay very long. They have their last hoop-la, and move on. It is the place where they can experience good and positive “Earth-like” activities.”
“But if they already know there is something greater why do they need to come here at all?”
She laughed. I wasn't sure why at that moment, but it became clearer as she spoke, “Elizabeth, you ask a very good question, but it might disappoint you that it has a very simple answer. Everyone likes to have fun right?”
“Well, that is your answer.”
“So, like Geeshgawoodiooki, Awesome World has taken things from Earth that are good and exaggerated them.”
“How do you mean Miss Lizzy?”
“Well, like on Geeshgawoodiooki, things like food and soft furniture were used to make everyone feel comfortable and safe. And here, things like amusement rides, and shows are used to make everyone feel joy and excitement, right?”
“Yes. That is true, you are on the right track.”
“So, are the other dimensions just other places that make you feel good?”
“Hmm. I don't know if I should tell you. I know you will discover that on your own, but I will say they aren’t necessarily. You see here, and in Geeshgawoodiooki, you are taught to appreciate those good things, that you once experienced on Earth, but like I said, this is the last place where you will be presented with anything Earth-like in terms of physical things anyways.”
“But why did they separate them? Couldn't you just go to a world that has all the wonderful things Earth has and none of the bad things?”
“Well, I'm guessing that would be awfully overwhelming. Also, each place has it’s own set of things that you are to learn before moving on. And, not all good things have the same lesson, right?” She raised her brow, still smiling.
“Yes. I guess that is true. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe the something Awesome World is missing?”
“Haha. Yes, Miss Lizzy, I think you- how do you say... hit the nail on the head? Haha.”
My belly also bounced up and down, as I let out an equally jolly giggle. An important question came to me, as I observed my new-found belly. “Mazfanny?”
“Yes, my dear.”
“How come - and I don't mean to be rude - you have a large belly? Is it because of all of the ice cream you eat?”
Her laugh was so loud that it echoed across the land. “Oh my, .. woo.. let me catch my breath.. That.. is the FUNNIEST thing I have heard this century! Your honesty is definitely refreshing! HAHA!”
I backed away a little, intimidated by her exuberance. “Okay, so I haven't offended you?”
“Oh gosh, no! You ask a very interesting question, actually. My physical body here is not my actual body. You see?”
I looked at her belly, and all around, confused by her contradiction. “No.”
“Well, I represent overindulgence, and joy. And like “Santa Claus”, that image seems to be more recognizable with those things. But, let me remind you, as you probably already know, there are no consequences for having fun here. Whether that is eating junk food, and not getting diseases that may come with obesity, or going on a thrilling ride without the risk of falling off or dying.”
I was not quite surprised by this information, but was still very intrigued. “But, why is that?”
“Because all of the souls here are passed that point. They don't need to know there are consequences for their actions, like on Earth. Instead, they get to enjoy things here, without paying those physical consequences. However, there are other things they have to learn. It is not easy to see, Miss Lizzy, and you may not know it until you are here. And, those who figure these things out don't need to come here. Although, like I said, everyone likes to have fun, so most of them at least stop by for a short while.”
I was still very curious. What was this thing that was missing in this great place? And what profound lessons could anyone learn in a place like this, except to have fun?
“I think you are right Mazfanny. I still have a lot of learning to do. And, even if I do figure it out, I will definitely stop by, and not just for the fun but to see you. You are a great pleasure to be around.” Her beautiful, glowing smile was so endearing that it felt like a protective, warm blanket all around me.
“You are too, a great pleasure Miss Lizzy, and I wish you the best on your adventures. I do still have something to give you. Actually, two things - two very important things. I hate to get serious, but now is the time.”
“What is it, Mazfanny?” My senses perked up, waiting to hear what was next.
“Here.” She handed me a large package that was elegantly wrapped, with a big red bow and glossy pink wrapping paper.
“Wow. Thank you. What is it?” I have never seen such a nicely-wrapped gift. Normally, when I got presents, they were thrown in a cheap bag, or even sometimes wrapped in newspaper. And that was if I even got a present. It was nice for a change to have something so wonderful. No matter what the gift was, the wrapping made me feel special, and made the gift inside of it special, no matter what it was.
“You will have to open it when you are back at home. It must be at the exact right moment. And, don't worry, you will know when that moment is, I promise.”
“Well, it is so pretty, I don't think I want to open it.”
“Haha. You are in luck, my dear. After you open it, and want to put it back, it automatically wraps itself up the same way!” She seemed very proud, and excited about this factor.
“That is very wonderful, Mazfanny. I will definitely enjoy that.”
She gave a satisfied smile. “Good. Now here is the next thing.” It was a small piece of paper folded what looked like a hundred times. “It is a message, from Ruth.” Her eyes grew serious now. “A clue, Elizabeth, for your investigation. After you read it, you will know when to open the present I gave you.”
I grew anxious, as I studied the piece of paper, but then I looked up and saw Mazfanny's eyes, and I couldn't help but smile and feel warmness in my belly. “Thank you for everything Mazfanny. It truly has been a delight. I will remember you and this place forever.” I grew teary, not in sadness, but in great appreciation and love.
“I should hope so, my sweet child!” She gave one last bouncy laugh as she grew thin and faded into the sunny air.
Soon after, the rainbow-coloured sky swirled around and around like a spin top, getting smaller and smaller, until only a small black hole was visible. It then vanished instantly making a clucking noise. The whole time, my eyes were fixed on the unusual sight but, when the hole vanished, my eyes closed suddenly, and I was again one with the soft light. I stayed for just a little while, soaking, as though I were in a hot bubble bath. I did not want to leave. I could truly stay there forever. It brought me even more joy than any of those things that Awesome World could bring me. That was it! The missing thing! Light? No. It could not be just the light. Something more, something it represented? I was thinking too much again. Enjoy, I told myself, just enjoy.