the Afterlings

gremlinToday is too big and I am too little. I said ‘yes’ too many times, and now I’m saying ‘Oh no!’

The Afterlings – the menacing creatures that wear guilt and stress like fancy clothes and prance around my present tasks – those gremlins undermine my every effort and then fall to the floor in gales of cynical laughter.

I hate their presence and I despise myself for their creation. They circle me, taunting, laughing, threatening doom. Then they gleefully poke each other and egg each other on. I cover my head with my arms and cower in my corner, deep within my pit of desperation.

Suddenly their yammering is hushed. They look up to see the approach of a misty form, clothed in light. The earth vibrates with its coming. They scatter, racing with each other to fight their way into the deepest corners, pulling their comrades out of their way, stomping on each other in their stampede for the darkness. They retreat into the hidden edges of this pit, with only their eyes catching a reflection of the light and revealing their presence under the rocks and within the crevices of the walls.

light-comesThe misty form has approached us on the ground above, scattering rays of brightness and droplets of reflected sunlight into this hole. A misty hand reaches down and scoops me up out of the hole and places me beside the well of joy.

The whole congregation of angels who come to the well in worship each day, the whole group is covered with this shimmering mist and they begin to chant, slowly, steadily, with words that tingle with the energy that lies within them, impatient for release. “He comes, he comes,” they chant. “He comes.”

I am more than a little scared by their chanting, by the power that pulses in its cadence. Before long, the whole meadow is filled with a blinding, brilliant light. I cannot even close my eyes to mask the brilliance, for it shines as brightly within my eyelids as it does within the meadow. It permeates every living form, every leaf and blade. We are all filled, filled with light.

Though I can see nothing, I can hear. The crowd is singing an ecstatic chorus, almost beyond words themselves. The well has overflowed its brim and is sending a torrent of water out at my feet, tumbling over them, almost massaging them with its power. I reach and touch the water and then touch my eyes. The water strengthens my eyes so that I can see within the brilliance.

I see the whole congregation on its feet, full of awe, hands up lifted, seeking to bring light into themselves. Indeed, the light is everywhere. There is an overwhelming oneness in the congregation, in the meadow. All are light together, although, with my strengthened eyes, I can also see each separate form and hear each separate voice of praise.

All the screeching noises of my Afterlings have been hushed by the magnificence and power of this scene.   But, quietly, in the still-dark chambers of my heart I can still see them – the Afterlings – as they scuttle and vie for the opportunity to mock me again.

Why do I let the Afterlings cross the realm of meditation into my daily heart, the heart that faces the drudgery of my day?   (See? I use an Afterling term for my duties. Yet, the angels of light do not disdain the simple tasks that I have let the Afterlings claim as drudgery.)

What a battle rages in the crevices of my being! The light and the dark are at war. The power of the light stands against the overriding fear and mockery of the dark. Indeed, it is fear that rivets my attention on the dark – fear that my failures will sneak up behind me and devour my soul.

I fear that I have no power that is it’s equal. It taunts me with that message every moment. But it is not my own power that I must seek. Instead, I must learn to see the light. I must refocus my gaze from the Afterlings to the angels. Each proclaim a potential truth. I must choose which will be true in me.

“I choose light.” At first it is a whisper, but in hearing my own words I am strengthened and I say it louder. “I choose light.” It rises in my throat and becomes a shout. “I choose light!” The congregation is again on its feet. The Afterlings scatter and run. “I choose light.” It is a plea and a promise, made with my own lips. “I choose light.”

“And I choose you, too.” The light answers. The voice is deep, and full and resonating with love and power. “I choose you.”

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[first image filtered from photo by dun_deagh per cc 2.0; second is a photo by Fabio Rava per cc 2.0; third is a photo by Martin LaBar per cc 2.0]

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