by Seattle Jon (bio)
I wrote and submitted the following short essay for this year's Mormon Lit Blitz. My essay was not selected, but I still found the writing exercise extremely fulfilling and suggest some of you write something for next year's Lit Blitz. You can read the eleven finalists starting tomorrow on Mormon Midrashim.
Is This Heaven?
… I opened my eyes. I was in a room, on a bed. Other than the bed, the room was empty. I stood up slowly, expecting the pain to be there. It wasn't. I walked to the door, opened it and entered a long hallway. I walked down the hallway, passing doors similar to my own, all closed. At the end of the hallway was a staircase, and as I descended, the pain in my chest and arms started returning.
The pain increased as I neared the bottom of the stairs, spreading to the lower half of my body and to my head. Despite the worsening pain, I was able to move normally and think clearly. "I shouldn't be able to take this amount of pain," I thought, as I moved into an open space on the lower floor.
It was then I noticed two couples, sitting across from each other in comfortable chairs. From the looks on their faces, it appeared as if they’d been having a pleasant discussion. I approached and they looked up. I knew both couples intimately – one was my earthly parents, both of whom had died a few years earlier – and the other was my heavenly parents.
My mom and dad didn't look much different than when I'd seen them last – aged. A thought popped into my head, "So much for perfect bodies in heaven." They physically changed as I completed the thought, to younger and healthier versions of themselves – and then they smiled in an understanding way. Like I'd missed something.
My mother and father I was meeting for the first time. I instantly loved them. Another thought popped into my head, "So they really do have physical bodies." They, too, physically changed as I completed the thought, to translucent spirits – and then they, too, smiled in an understanding way. Like I'd missed something.
The pain in my body peaked as I stood in front of them. It was quiet. I looked around. This room was also empty, except for the five of us and the four chairs.
Addressing my mom and dad, I said, "I'm sorry."
"What for?" they asked.
"For not always being honest with you."
They smiled, and the pain felt a little less painful.
Addressing my mother and father, I said, "I'm sorry."
"What for?" they asked.
"For not always believing in you."
They smiled, too, and the pain felt a little less painful.
Addressing all of them, I said, "Is this heaven?"
They all smiled, but the pain didn't feel any less painful this time.
A final thought popped into my head, "Go back to your room and rest. You’ll need to make many more trips down those stairs."
I smiled this time.