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Heaven is Fulfilment: Chapter 7

THE SHACK

We were both surprised and delighted at this, for the apparent absence of the King of Love had grieved us. Our angel, however, made us understand that He is there in every place and in every mansion of Heaven’s realm. He said that always He is seen, too, although the inhabitants often mistake Him for a leader or wise adviser among them. It was with light hearts, then, that we turned to Frank. “Now tell us about your happiness here,” I suggested.

His broad shoulders were outlined against the blue of the sky. He looked like a happy young giant, standing there on the mountain. He smilingly swung a hand upward. “Come and see for yourself!”

Turning swiftly, he leapt up the steep crag behind us. Janet followed, springing lightly from rock to rock. I glanced at the angel and he signed me to go before him. As we went, Frank talked eagerly. “The master said that Heaven was a fulfilment of our hidden desires, that it is not always what we think we want, for often men on earth think what they think they ought to think.” He broke off, laughing. “Isn’t that involved? But do you get my meaning?”

“Perfectly,” Janet assured him.

“Well,” he continued, “some people think they ought to want to rest all the time, but deep down they know they want activity! Then, some think they should long to meet angels and sing psalms with them – but of course, they just imagine that. Who would want to meet an angel, really and truly? It’s other people that people want to see – sort of homely and familiar.”

“Yes, I suppose so.” Janet and I exchanged an amused glance, then we looked at our angel. He was smiling, nodding his head as though to say: “These babes! They will come to know us one day, when they will be amused, too.”

“It was the hidden desire for activity that made me act as I did on earth,” Frank went on, leaping up to the broad top of a crag. “I wanted to be free to explore the world, to take hard physical exercise, to enjoy sports. Of course it was wrong to act as I did. It was a sin. The master explained that. But he said that that was what ‘floored’ me. Had I fought it, and conquered, he said I would have been higher up in Heaven, although of course I reached it in the end. If this isn’t high, what is?”

He stood laughing down at us, sweeping a hand toward the valley below.

“You are happy, anyway,” Janet agreed. “Do you have all the exercise you want now?” “Yes, it is simply grand. Look over there!”

He pointed to a distant mountain and we were surprised to see that it was snow-covered. Down its smooth slopes people were flying on skis and on the lower hills there were laden toboggans. As we paused, shouts and laughter floated up to us.

“That is only one of our joys,” Frank continued eagerly. “We have fields for playing all kinds of games, and then we make gardens. It’s tough going, but some of the fellows like it, so we all help. That is one of the characteristics of Heaven. We must love and serve and share the happiness of each other.”

“What do you like doing most of all?” I asked.

“We are building!” he cried. “Did you see my chums at the foot of the mountains where we met? We thought it would he grand to live up here so we are building shacks. The ones that like gardening are planting flowers for us, and some of them are hewing the soil almost out of the rocks! Look, I wanted to surprise you!”

He led us swiftly round a tall rock and on to a plateau. Janet cried out in delight and Frank stood beaming proudly. The little shacks were set on the sides of a square, each with a small garden in front. Some were not finished but others were all ready for occupation, with flowers already climbing up the walls.

“Who hung the curtains?”Janet asked in surprise.

“Some of the women here. They like doing it, for they make clothes for us, and for the children, or anything else that is wanted. Look, that is my shack.”

He pointed to a half-finished one and we went forward to inspect it. It was solidly built of stone, and Janet, entering the doorway, thoroughly approved of the two airy rooms she found within. Frank was eager to show us everything, so we stayed quite a long time.

At last he announced his intention of returning, telling us that he had promised to rejoin his chums.

“The master wants us all on the green this evening, too. He gives us lessons – about loving our fellow-men, you know. Are you coming?”

“Perhaps it would be better for us to continue on our way,” I said, after a questioning glance at our angel. “Well, then I will say goodbye.” We all shook hands, then, Janet thanking him warmly for guiding us”.

In a moment he had turned the corner of the rock and we heard him leaping down the mountain-side.