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I Saw A Ladder

      at the moment of my death, I discovered to my deep surprise that my odyssey was

not over but instead had just begun, a revelation that did not please me immersed as I was

in the throes of utter exhaustion. . .burning with the desire to rest, I had expected that

death would extinguish the fire, an expectation that was frustrated when I found that my

desire continued to burn & would not stop until I did the work that would provide me

with deep & enduring satisfaction. . .I saw a ladder I had to mount in order to receive the

treasure I needed & knew that the ascent would take far more effort than a journey taken

across flat terrain. . .

      I felt reluctant to make the necessary effort since I could not be certain it would

pay off with anything of value, but I was left with no choice other than to climb since a

stubborn insistence upon remaining static would keep me trapped in a world of eternal

misery I did not want. . .mustering all the strength I still possessed after I had lost my

body, I moved up the ladder rung by rung haunted by the fear that I would find nothing

when I reached the top of it, a fear that inhibited my engagement in the upward motion

tempting me with the possibility of stopping upon one rung or another & refusing to

continue an action likely to prove futile. . .in the end, however, I would not allow myself

to be schooled & controlled by doubt but instead I pushed hard against it struggling to

create & to sustain the faith that my difficult ascent would yield me something good. . .

      at last I reached the top rung of the ladder & found that it had brought me to a

rolling green field that spread out before me far as my eyes were able to see, an endless

green field illuminated by a sun more beautiful & brilliant than any I had ever seen

before, a sight that ignited an unaccustomed surge of boundless joy deep inside of me. . .

at first I was unwilling to trust that my joy could endure & I braced myself in the

expectation that any moment the sense of frustration & eternal misery that had been my

previous condition would return to possess me, but that expectation never achieved

fruition, for instead my joy mounted as time faded away & was replaced by eternity. . . in

that heaven I had ascended to know, all my joy flowed out of me to take the concrete

shape of a feast & I found that all the beloved souls I thought I had forever lost were

sitting with me eating & drinking & talking at the happy table, a feast that only ended

when our hunger & our thirst had achieved their absolute satisfaction & then we rose up

to dance together in ecstasy across the boundless & rolling green field that surrounded us

on all sides. . .