[ Setting: A gazebo in a picturesque park. ]

MARTHA:       So I died and now I am here. It all seemed to have ended so abruptly. I lived a long time but as I got closer and closer to the end I thought of all the time I would not live as gone-time, only the next living moment mattered. For quite awhile I was thinking this could be my last day; the last time I look out this window; the last time I fall asleep. And, of course, all of those last times did come to pass, including my last breath – very strange indeed.
     I had some definite ideas about what to expect but meeting an angel first thing was not one of them, yet here we are.

ALLEGENTIA:       We know there are many different notions about the afterlife, but no matter how heartfelt and certain a belief, the way things are is the way they should be. We even accommodate some expected scenarios to a certain degree. But, of course, we cannot accommodate the impossible opinion that there is nothing beyond the death of the body. A person may be confused to find themselves alive again, but almost everyone will see things unfolding differently than they imagined.

MARTHA:       Okay, it is what it is. So, let me ask you this, why do we have to die in the first place? Not that I minded, I was ready to go, eighty-nine years were plenty enough for me.

ALLEGENTIA:       I know physical death is often an emotionally distressing experience but it is an inevitability and a necessity – even a gift. As you well know your physical body eventually wears down and needs to be replaced. Luckily, your essence is more than your body. You, the real you, what is truly of value, lives on. Your destiny is eternal. Life on one planet, as rich as it may be, is insufficient to fulfill your growth potential. You accomplish what you can on your nativity planet and provisions have been made to take up from there in your next life.
     Physical death gives you the opportunity to shift your perspective. It is a time to see what is truly important. Now you will see how much materialism and how much spirit value you put into your reality structure.

MARTHA:       Like I said I was ready to go, but I doubt many looked at death as a gift.

ALLEGENTIA:       Many a person prayed fervently for God to give them “just one more day” on Earth. They later thank God for giving them uncountable days in afterward.
     Physical death gives you a new lease on life by giving you a new body and environment; but it also releases you from the grip of your material constitution. Once you see your afterlife possibilities, you will see your heavenly reward has transcendent value.
     Physical death gives you a chance to change your routines. Changing your habitat often changes the mind’s habits. Initially the exceptional sensations of heaven will grab your attention more than the familiar. This is natural, of course, and you are offered the tools and training to adapt to your strange new external environment as well as your refreshed internal psychic climate.
     Now you have a golden opportunity to review and revise your assumptions, take a look at your beliefs, and redirect your focus in a more productive direction. Your human death was one more opportunity for you to face a trying situation with grace and poise.

MARTHA:       If it is so great over there, why should we wait around to die?

ALLEGENTIA:       The opportunities on your first planet were unique. You will look back on your intense earthly experience as a rich setting where you had your best chances to acquire, in a short time, a unique set of qualities. On Earth your growth potential was many times magnified and concentrated. But in order to appreciate these things you need a larger perspective; you will get that in heaven. On your nativity planet you were simply dealing with the pleasures and difficulties of life. The longer you lived, the more opportunities you had to learn life’s lessons.

MARTHA:       And yet didn’t you say we still have to learn and grow in heaven?

ALLEGENTIA:       Humankind’s biggest mistaken notion about death is the assumption you get to skip all the way to some divine ideal without going through the thrill and effort of becoming. Take a lesson from your life; look at the self-evident way things did work. They will continue in the same manner. You can keep what your have earned, but nothing more. Of course, God gives you everything you need to progress, but you still need to do the progressing.
     I do not know your specific afterlife dreams but I understand you may have difficulty integrating them with how things turn out to be. This will become considerably easier when you see how things really are on the other side. For now you still hold on to your beliefs. Of course, some things you believe, or at least their shadow, are somewhat correct.
     Many are hoping for an easier life, an eternal state of bliss, and yet bliss beyond anything you could now appreciate is one of the things you will eventually acquire.

MARTHA:       Well, I don’t know, it sounds pretty good to me to be in endless bliss.

ALLEGENTIA:       Yes, I suppose it does sound good. And it will be good once you decide to create it. You are afflicted with a limited view. In order to get something for nothing your freedom to gain it for yourself would have to be curtailed or suspended. Would it really be fair if the freedom you have to earn your way were to be taken away from you?
     You may be asked to give up many things but your freewill is always going to be yours to use as you wish. This is one of the greatest gifts given to a living being. How improbable of the Maker to give you this fundamental endowment only to remove it a few years later. Human death would truly be a curse if you lost your freewill. Think of all you would be deprived of if your freewill choice was suspended and you no longer had the opportunity to give of yourself and receive your just rewards in-kind. It would be a travesty to force a child to remain in a lower state of existence even if the child was happy. Reaching for your most cherished visions is a fundamental right.

MARTHA:       You’re telling me I have to work for everything?

ALLEGENTIA:       A privilege earned is more satisfying than having one handed to you. For one thing you would not know how to use it properly, and you certainly would not value it as much as it should be. Intelligent effort is the only way for a person to attain true happiness. You know a bit of the truth of this now and it will become more apparent to you as time goes on. And besides, with the proper attitude, happiness can be a permanent state of mind. The joy of existence is one free gift you do not have to work for; you can simply accept it.

MARTHA:       That sounds like one of those things that is easier said than done.

ALLEGENTIA:       I suppose it is, but we will help you see your way through to it.
     God is the most generous person in the universe. He sees the most fulfilling way for you to get what you need is to allow you to earn it for yourself. On Earth life was a hodge-podge of unforeseeable events. You made heroic efforts to control the chaos. There was gladness and grief, growth spurts and languid passages, accidents, successes, and failures. All the while you were choosing how to deal with what’s thrown at you, how to control your own destiny, and make the best of your many options. With this soup of life you have produced a unique soul only you could have created.

MARTHA:       I guess I see, somewhat. I know what you mean about unforeseeable accidents. When I was in high school a friend of mine died. Having to deal with that certainly did teach me a few things. It gave me a different perspective on life. I was almost instantly more mature. I made up my mind then and there to get some things done in my life.

ALLEGENTIA:       Some of those out-of-the-blue calamities help us to see what is important and can send us off in a more productive or rewarding direction. You took the advantages it offered and I can see in your soul you did learn some compassion and how to deal with sorrow. Others do not do as well and take away only bitterness. The person with clearer thinking understands literally everything is an opportunity for soul growth. Attitude and outlook are critical internal components of how you choose to deal with the vicissitudes of life. And these are impacted most profoundly by your God concept.
     But all was not uncontrollable chaos. You did, during the normal course of your life, choose your opportunities, that is to say you freely and actively decided what people, ideas, and ideals to associate with. The careers you chose offered you valuable and unique openings. What were some of the things you decided to do?

MARTHA:       I wanted to be a wife and mother and I picked a pretty good mate. I got used to his ways and I guess he got used to mine. We had five great kids. Well, the jury is still out on one of them but I have a mother’s hope he will get straightened out eventually. Maybe he will need a few angels to help him get his head on straight.
     We had a farm in the West because we loved the wide-open spaces. Of course the country life meant I could not do a lot of city things. I suppose I could have if we’d had a lot of money but we got by. I guess that is one of the biggest lessons of life, you only get to do some things because what you choose to focus on pushes other things out of the way. I admired and was amazed by those folks who seemed to be able to do a variety of things at the same time. I just never had enough time to get everything done. Weeks and even months would go by and all I could do was keep up with the kids and the chores. Then again, I had a lot of time, too much time, in my later years.
     Before my marriage I was a secretary and during the war I worked in a factory. My girlfriends and I had plans on starting a dressmaking business when the war was over and some of them did go on to do just that but I met Clifton and one thing led to another.

ALLEGENTIA:       It is good you had a full life. I see you developed flexible tolerance and persistent dedication dealing with husband, children, and animals. And you will now have a chance to pursue the worthy things you missed out on and to finish the good things you started.

MARTHA:       Okay, that sounds good to me. What more could a person ask for?