“Are you here for the spectacle?” It was a small boy, near the carriage. “Hey, Mister.”
Griffin looked at the small boy. He recognized him. It was he himself, just a small boy. The last time he thought of this boy, he was sitting at his mother’s piano, playing the same three keys over and over again in an empty room.
This morning, three angels were in the new, unfamiliar stable when he arrived. They were industrious; the carriage was gleaming. It was as good a job as Griffin ever did. He did a brief visual inspection. They had missed nothing. He began to brush Nuelle. One of the angels came over to the other side, stretching her legs, she looked over at Griffin and smiled, then began to brush. Once Nuelle was prepared she was harnessed.
Nuelle drew the carriage down a green country lane. The grass intruded into the path. The sun was still low in the sky. The first of the trumpeters had arrived and changed into white robes. Griffin took a moment and looked at the name in the book.
He found himself with Nuelle and the carriage in front of a small country church in Palatka, Florida. Every inch was painted white. Griffin thought looking from the outside that the church could not hold more than a couple of dozen believers.
A young man emerged. He was wearing an inexpensive suit and solid shoes. Shoes that a man could walk the many miles of his life. A Bible was held firmly in one hand.
Griffin climbed down. He walked over to Nuelle and watched the man walk towards them. He was unassuming, but full of courage. He looked innocent, but strong. He looked a little lost, but had eyes that saw. “I have been sent for you,” Griffin told him as he stepped into the carriage.
Nuelle continued along the green pasture and turned along a path now lined with trumpeters who began to play as the carriage passed. William Franklin watched in awe. Once the trumpeters were past, crowds of people wearing white robes lined the path and poured over into the fields. An orchestra of music seemed to envelop the carriage.
“Who are all these people?” William Franklin asked Griffin.
“Mr. Graham, theses are the people you touched. Each was in need of spiritual guidance. They had fallen and you lifted them. They were hungry for a taste of faith and you filled their plates. When they suffered, you offered to share in their suffering. When lost in the dark, you shined a light.”
William Franklin sat in comfort in the back of the carriage, his heart was full. He looked at this sea of people. He saw on their faces, optimism and peace. “This is heaven?”
“I am here to take you anywhere that you wish. The crowds are here to honor your life’s work. You know more than most that the path is not straight. You know that the road can be long. You studied the word, and you studied humanity in your pursuits. You know that life is about who you are, what you have done and what you carried in your heart. Some are chosen. To answer your question, you are free to pick your own heaven. There is the traditional view, of being in the presence of the Lord. Many having this new freedom chose to continue to explore. There is no pain now. Those pains you have endured are conquered now. The nourishment that is sought, is spiritual, creative and flows from a well of endless bounty.”
William sat back, “So what do people do all day?” William’s eyes widened. Out near the horizon loomed a castle.
“The people offered a carriage ride have many choices. Some men at first want nothing more than a bamboo fishing pole and a pond filled with fish. They want to lay back and take a few deep breaths after living a hurried life. Some are anxious to find their family members or be reunited with their favorite pets. Remember, after centuries, a bureaucracy has sprung up to handle the who, what and where. Not to mention the staff required to answer prayers. I am sure you can imagine. Surprising what a kick many get from answering prayers.”
“Sounds a bit like work. A day job. After the hectic life I have lived, I am sure I do not want a day job. Working in a cubical has never been to my taste. Fishing for a few days might not be bad, but longer than that; no I don’t think that would work.”
“Sitting at the feet of the Lord, is out of the question, I suppose.”
“Now, directly at the feet could be an issue, but there are acres of clergy in fields in all directions from where he reigns. I know of one Sister, that gets dropped off on the outskirts and climbs over and maneuvers around all those there just to touch the hem of his robe. She has made two trips that I know of, probably more.”
Billy leaned forward. “She returned?”
Griffin thought a moment. He did not know if there was a big celebration planned or if there would be a reception waiting. He knew he was prominent. “Yes, she went back. Not many go back. Not right away.” Griffin sensed Nuelle’s pace slowed.
The man known as Billy Graham sat back again. He took a deep breath and said, “Take me back. But first does Nuelle know the way to that fishing hole that is filled with fish?”
Nuelle made a wide turn. The crowd parted and an “awe” escaped into the atmosphere. On a little side passage barely wide enough for the carriage she turned. In a clearing near a pond Griffin stopped and climbed down. He took off Nuelle’s harness and let her wander to the pond to drink the fresh water and graze. On a small dock the water lapped against the pilings. Two bamboo pools rested against a railing. Turtles swam up near the dock to investigate the arrivals. Catfish lazed in the shade beneath the wooden dock. The cattails swayed in gentle surrender to the mood.
Griffin walked over to Nuelle and took an apple from his pocket. He cut the apple and gave Nuelle half. He walked over and gave a piece to Billy. While Griffin walked over to the carriage to get the blanket from under the seat, Billy dropped a line into the water. The lazy afternoon drifted by as a breeze made the grass dance in the sunlight.
Griffin’s line ebbed and flowed not disturbing the fish.
Near dusk Billy returned to where Griffin had dozed off. “That was the nicest afternoon I have had in I don’t know how long.”
Griffin sat up Nuelle walked towards him and nuzzled him. The two walked to the front of the carriage and put things in order. “So, you have decided?”
“Yes, I know exactly where I want to go. There is this little church. It is the church where I delivered my first sermon. If you will take me there, I will see if the Pastor will allow me to begin again.”
Griffin extended his hand, young Billy Graham took it and for the second time today stepped inside. Nuelle followed the path. In no time the carriage stood in front of the little white church in Palatka, Florida. The man beloved by millions was ready to start sharing the Gospel to new generations.
Billy Graham's ♫ ♪ Just As I Am. ♫ ♪ By Artist Jeffery Jiles.
© 2018 mckbirdbks