I felt as if I was floating. My body felt none of the aches and pains I had acquired throughout my life. I looked down at my body and saw that I was a young girl again. Then I looked up and saw the land that surrounded me. The sky was a pale baby blue. The ground was covered in pure white snow. The trees were bare. I looked up and saw a looming figure up ahead.
The figure beckoned me forth with its hand. I slowly and wearily walked towards it. As I came nearer I could make out its snow white hair and blue eyes in the face of my old father. I stood stock still. "Where am I dad and why are you here? Why is the ground covered in snow?" these questions came flooding out of my mouth before I could stop them. He looked at me for a short time, and then said "You're in Heaven. You will meet three people who will explain to you your life and how they affected you. I am your first." I stood there in shock. This was not my image of heaven. "What is the lesson that you have to teach me?" He looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said "I am here to teach you the meaning of a fathers love. I know that I wasn't the best father that you could have had. I pushed you too hard. The pain I caused you to feel was only to make you strive to not make my mistakes. You were so much like me that it scared me. I saw you and could see myself. I always loved you. Showing it was so hard. I yelled too much, was too strict, and didn't pay enough attion to you and the little things that you cared for, but I always thought about you. Parents are not perfect. Sometimes we try so hard to make our children not go through the pain that we did so we push them to hard, and forget to show love. Fathers love their daughters in a special way. They want them to feel like a princess and protect them." I started to cry. My whole body was shaking. My father wrapped his arms around me and held me close. I could picture every fight we had ever had. It was almost as if they had just happened. I remember feeling as if he hated me, because he always pushed me and always tried to make me different than I was. "Fathers show their children just a little piece of how God really is. A father's love never ends. I love you. We are in this snowy landscape, because this is my heaven. Alaska." He held me close for a short while and then said, "It's time for me to go and you to go to your second person. I love you, please keep that in mind."
After my father left everything went dark and then light flicked back on. I was in a camp. It was from my teen years when my church would take us to Oklahoma for church camp. Sitting on the porch, where we first met, was Dylan. I met him the summer of 2012. I remember that day well. He had shocked me by sitting very close to me and saying nothing, all the while looking at me. I was six-teen and untrusting. The previous years of my life had left me scared and in need of a shoulder to lean on, but my pride wouldn't let me. We wound up on the same team for sports. I injured my knee somehow. It was rather difficult for me to participate, but I did anyways. The entire week Dylan had been talking to me and encouraging me. The last game day I came so close to giving up, because the pain was just too much to bear. Dylan looked at me and said "Remember how you came to me to thank me for helping you and then you started to cry?" "Yes I do. I had never let anyone see me cry or be in need of comfort." He stared at me then started to speak. "My lesson to teach you is about trust. It's one of the hardest things for people to have and not break. When we go through pain or heartache we start to learn to not trust people. Without trust we can have no real relationships. Trust is at the core of human interactions. When you came to me and started to cry you were coming to me because I reminded you of your father. You wanted so bad to trust him, yet the pride and mistrust you had held you back. You wanted to be independent and strong. That's where so many falter. They believe that they need to be strong and independent or they will be hurt and broken. People don't relies that pain is inevitable and that you must keep going and not forget how to trust. I have to go soon, but my part in your life was to show you to trust again. After that you started to heal and become close to others again." I started to lift high up into the air while Dylan disappeared beneath me.
I was suspended in the air for several moments. Then the world started to materialize around me. I was in an old church. My former Pastor Charles was at the front of the church sitting on the stage waiting for me. "Come here Gabrielle. Sit with me for a while." I started down the aisle towards the stage. When I got to the stage I sat down and looked at him. "What lesson are you here to teach me? "I asked him without delay. "Child my lesson to you is Faith. We all need something to believe in. for us Christians it is our God. He gives us a hope in something bigger than ourselves. Our faith drives us to be better than we thought we could be. It teaches us to go outside of ourselves to be kind to each other. We in all need just a little faith to help us along. My role in your life was to teach you to have a little faith. Now it's time for you to go to your own heaven. Good bye child." With that he lifted into the sky.
The world around me started to spin. I became so dizzy that I couldn't make out my surroundings. I fell to the ground and shut my eyes. When I opened them again I was in a breath taking green valley. It looked like it came out of Lord of the Rings. There were horses all around me. Neighing, whinnying, and trotting around. I thought about the lesson I had been given. A fathers love, trust, and faith. All of them building blocks for our life and each one is important. I stood up and walked to the tall black stallion that was in the center of the heard. I hoped up on him and galloped off into my heaven.