I've never known a heart with a hush so deep.
HAVING RAINED HARD THAT MORNING, by midafternoon the sky was a tedium of slow and tumbling grays. There was no light at all, not the slightest suggestion, and no rain. The gloom was magnificent. I was eight. I didn’t know what a mausoleum was. By the architecture, the spires, by the excesses on the battlements, the vaulted ceiling, it could have been a church. Once inside I was overcome by a stillness so refined and so polished, so dreamlike and unfamiliar I knew I had entered another world, a world far more grand than the one I just left.
We stood there together, my father and me. I was awe. He was silence. I remember thinking how expensive death looked, how meticulous, enshrined, as it was, in alabaster and reflective granite. I could tell by the rapture on my father’s face it was making the same high music in him that it was in me. And I was happy. I was not afraid, nor did I want to leave.
This place is not like that, exactly.
I’m just not sure I would have imagined an afterworld with such a lack of state, or grandeur. Or one outfitted quite so modestly. If this is heaven, I’m not impressed. A vision, even a mild hallucination would have better effects, I think, better props.
This could be a dream, I suppose. But if it is, it’s not a very convincing one. These are my hands. These are my fingers. I can make them move. This is my face. These are certainly my thoughts you’re overhearing.
I do not trust what I see, though I will not deny that I see it. What I know and what I see are at odds one with the other. The testimony I am obliged to give, therefore, may lack the power to convince. I am not sure how it can be otherwise.
If there are words for this, they are shy.
I could imagine myself on a sea floor, alone at the bottom of an abyss, as hush as death, a blue that rules my sense in ways I am unaccustomed. I am moved and by such persuasion, words are uneventful. I have eyes but no tongue. Respect your metaphors, my father said. Restrain them if you can, he said. He never mentioned anything like this.
The floor is solid enough beneath me, but I will keep my hands to myself.
There is no physics, no science to explain intensity and luminosity. To say it is a lovely light, a glum, hideous, noble, or enchanted light is of little use. And it argues presence more than mere illumination. It has the appearance of water, or fire, I can’t tell yet which. The word light itself is suspect. It just doesn’t say it correctly. I am supposed to be good at this and yet the usual conventions of speech have an uncertain authority here.
Forgive my timidity, the wild speculation, the stammering, the occasional ellipsis, and whatever infractions of grammar I might incur. My English wearies under the strain.
One thing is certain. I am the guest here. And whether I am looked upon with welcome, indifference, or something a bit more sinister, I do not yet know. But I am not afraid. I am curious. I am charmed. I am just not sure fear is what I feel.
Writing began mid-2012, not long after the release of TYNDALE: THE MAN WHO GAVE GOD AN ENGLISH VOICE (Thomas Nelson Publishers). Originally known as "The Door," My Blue Paradise evolved from a novel to a novella to a two-act play. The entire play can be read in less than two hours.