A Gift From God
Lenny was a fisherman from Waldmeer. Several generations of his family had lived in the little coastal village. One of his past relatives was a logger in the forest like many men at that time. He had emigrated from Germany. The logging settlement was the spectacular meeting point of forest and stunning coastline. It was he who first referred to the early town as Waldmeer. It means forest-sea in German. The name stuck and the locals called it that ever since.
Lenny was seventeen when he built the small, fibro cottage that he and his wife had lived in ever since. It was simple but well cared for and had a lovely, unpretentious garden around the house. It also had an orchard with enough fruit trees for making jam. The bottom of the orchard was home to several hens which provided eggs. Next to the orchard was a large vegetable patch which had fed the family for a few decades. The house was a few streets away from Farkas, although, they had not crossed paths. All in all, Lenny and his wife had a relatively smooth life avoiding many of the difficulties of their neighbours, probably, because of their unambitious and genuine approach to everyday life. However, all of this changed a few days ago.
They were now sitting in the country hospital, anxious and weary with nerves on edge, waiting to see what would happen to Maria, their sixteen-year-old daughter. She had been in intensive care for three days. The unthinkable had happened and Maria was hit by the school bus on its daily trek along the long, winding coastal road. Her parent’s only consolation was that Maria had become immediately unconscious and so they felt she was not in pain.
Many years ago, they had been told that they would not be able to have children. Maria was a wonderful surprise after fifteen years of marriage. They said she was a gift from God when they would allow themselves such sentimentalities. As if to confirm the hypothesis, Maria was an unusually sweet child with not a mean bone in her body. Her goals in life were simple and she was more than happy to go to school and help her mother in the small cafe her mother managed in Waldmeer. Always pleasant to the customers, perhaps, dreamy at times but, nevertheless, delightful. Maria was a genuine asset to the business. She used her earnings to buy little presents for her friends and she saved for her future life. Now it looked like she was not going to have a future life.
“I am so sorry.” The doctor-in-charge summoned all his professional training as he came into the hospital room, “I do not think Maria will live past this evening. It is probably best to say your goodbyes.”
Maria had almost completely transitioned to the Homeland. As her parents had hoped, she felt no pain at all. In fact, she was quite at peace and her only concern was the thought that her parents might not be as excited about her leaving as she was.
“Don’t worry about your parents, Maria. It has all been taken care of,” her guardian assured her.
For some reason, as yet unclear, Amira had been given access to this whole drama unfolding. She even saw the accident and watched Maria’s guardians look after her as she moved out of her body. They talked to Maria calmly and there was little stress in the situation for her, in spite of there being a great deal of stress in the human world around these same events.
Milyaket, Keeper of the Forest, approached Amira. “We have been so enjoying having you back in the Homeland,” said Milyaket, “but, like all of us, you know that in helping others, you find greater happiness yourself.” Amira nodded. She had learned that lesson a long time ago. In the Homeland, where there are many advanced beings, Amira was frequently reminded of how much she still had to learn. “The Advisors would like to ask you if you are willing to return to Earth in the body of young Maria,” Milyaket continued. “She is a suitable match for you and you will not find her past life or tendencies too grating.”
“Of course,” Amira said knowing that whatever the Advisors suggested was always in one’s best interest.
“There is one more thing that you must know,” Milyaket added. “Once you have entered Maria’s body, you will not be able to recall your life as you know it now. You will remember Maria’s life as if it were your own. Gradually, Maria’s memory and demeanour will be transformed into your own Amira-consciousness. In this way, both you and Maria’s parents will adjust to the change. The timing of this is undecided at this point.”
Lenny and his wife could not believe their blessed, good fortune when in the early evening Maria started to move her arms and open her eyes. She was returning to them.
“Tomorrow, I would like to go to the chapel for a little while,” Lenny said for the first and only time ever.