Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Abby. The world was about to be a new place for her, because Abby was yet to be born. She couldn’t see anything, but she could hear what was all around her. Muffles and grunts, yells and laughter, sometimes it made her jump and sometimes it made her smile. She didn’t know what the sounds were, but she liked them and she liked her name too.
Abby, she would hear, over and over again.
Then one day, Abby’s eyes opened and she could see a radiant light as bright as anything could ever be. It was a warm light, powerful but soft at the same time. Abby moved in her womb towards it, reaching for it with one of her hands.
Things began to change all around Abby now. The womb she was in disappeared. The darkness became filled with light. She could feel warmth, air, a light breeze, and most of all she could feel something unimaginable. She was changing from her little baby body into that of a little girl.
She felt these long strings falling all around her head, what we call hair. She felt her body growing longer, and wider, to accommodate the new frame. Her legs began to grow strong. Abby could lift them and place one foot forward, then bring the next forward after that. She was able to walk now, breathe the air, smell the scents, and feel a presence like she had never known before.
She had on a white cloth of some sort, now. It looked much like a gown. She felt the contours of the fabric, woven together with intricate precision. A button at the top kept the gown in place. It was delicate, but sturdy just the same. She loved the way it flowed all around her as she began to twirl in the light that surrounded her. Abby began to dance gliding to the sound of the symphony in her head. The ebb and flow of the music seemed to permeate throughout the essence she was in. She twirled and twirled all the while laughing and smiling, the happiest she had ever been.
As she moved Abby’s hair changed colors, first blonde, then auburn, then brunette. Her eyes did the same as well, changing from blue, to green, to hazel, to brown. Her face looked like a porcelain dolls, her eyes big and bright. Her little body had all the grace of a ballerina dancing before a crowd of onlookers awe struck by the beauty and majesty of her form. Abby laughed as she twirled and twirled all around some more.
Finally, though, something stopped Abby’s progression. Her garment continued on as her body stopped, flowing around her once more, and then twisting back straight again. What stood before her froze her in place. Abby stared up at something she had never seen before. It was some “thing”, something like her but much bigger and different. Then she heard the familiar sound she had heard before in the womb, this time less muffled and clear.
The voice was distinct, calm, strong, and deep. The resonance sent chills throughout Abby’s body, another sensation she had never felt before.
“Hello,” Abby replied, her eyes fixed upward.
“Why have you stopped dancing?” the voice asked.
“Why don’t we dance together?”
Abby smiled when she heard that. A hand reached out for her’s. Abby was reluctant at first.
“Do not be frightened, Abby. Take my hand.”
Abby felt no fear this time, and she placed her hand within the larger one.
The form of a man suddenly appeared, all flowing in white as Abby was dressed. The man looked down at her and smiled. Abby smiled back and the two began to skip through the white light of essence.
As they frolicked along, flowers began to pop up all around them. There were daisies, tulips, roses, daffodils, pansies, all kinds. Next a full garden appeared. Then trees came next. All manner of oaks, pines, redwoods, dogwoods, stood tried and true around them now. They walked a path that shimmered in the light as if it were made out of solid gold. The grass was a brilliant shade of green, perfectly manicured all along the edges. Mountains shown as silhouettes in the distance and a steep waterfall flowed down the side of one. The sky turned blue and clouds rested within it. The clouds moved across with a fluffiness reminiscent of the softest down pillows. They seemed so close Abby could almost reach out and touch them. Birds began to fill the sky, chirping and gliding all around. The birds would swoop, dive, climb, and fall in a rhythmic motion that appeared to Abby as the same style of dancing she had been doing just before. Abby was in awe of what she was seeing now. A deer approached her as she fed it some grain that miraculously appeared in the palm of her hand. Next a rabbit hopped along, its massive family in tow. A red bird landed on her shoulder and chirped into her ear. This made Abby laugh, as the sound tickled. Two little dogs, one black and one white, ran up to Abby, jumping up so she could lift them and hold them in her arms. The man beside her smiled and laughed as the dogs licked her precious, little face.
Everything in this garden was beautiful. It was the perfect place for a little girl to be.
“What is this place?” Abby asked.
“This is home, Abby. This is where you want to be.”
Abby was so thrilled, she never wanted to leave. What better place could their ever be?
But then a dark storm cloud began to appear, followed by another, and another. The leaves of the trees began to wither, turn brown and fall off. The flowers crumbled before her, dying rapidly. The grass turned brown and somewhat scorched. A raging whirlwind was beginning to form in the distance near the mountains. As the waterfall almost seemed to cease its flow, the wind got stronger. The animals began to scurry away. Abby was growing frightened as the darkness was beginning to consume her now. But the man took her hand again and held to it tight. He told her to not be afraid.
“I have to show you this too, Abby.”
“What is this?” she asked, alarmed and afraid.
“This is the world you are about to go to.”
Suddenly images appeared before Abby. Images of bad things happening in the world she was about to enter. Wars, hunger, hate, fear, everything terrifying to a child was there. It made her afraid of where she was going. She wanted it all to go away. Abby could not bear the burden of the images any longer, hiding her eyes from sight and covering her ears from the sounds. She was almost in tears.
But just as suddenly as the scary images had come, they were gone and all that remained was the light and man she was with. He knelt beside her and took her hands, wiping away the tears that had started and rubbing them off her cheeks.
“Don’t be frightened of that world, Abby. There is good in it just as there is bad.”
“Good like the garden?” she asked.
“Just like the garden.”
“Why can’t I stay in the garden forever?”
“One day you will, Abby, but there is something you must do first?”
Abby gazed into the man’s eyes as he spoke; listening to every word he had to say.
“There are two people that need you. They want you more than anything that world could ever offer them. They cherish you already, and they have never even met you before. They love you beyond all belief and want to shower you with it for all the days of your life. You give them hope, Abby. Hope to overcome those awful images you saw. You’ll remind them of the garden that they saw once but have forgotten. Help them remember, Abby.”
“How can I help them remember?”
“By showing them how to live their life. If you stay focused on the garden, you’ll never run astray, I guarantee that, Abby. These two people that I’m about to give you to, they’ll follow you wherever you go, take you places you’ve never been before, and guide you in all that you do.”
“But what if I don’t know where the garden is?”
“It’s inside you, Abby. Right here…”
He points to the center of her chest.
“In your heart.”
Abby looked down as his finger touched her chest. She looked back up, with a smile coming across her face.
“I’ll always have the garden with me?” she asked, her face now gleaming.
The man stood back up, as Abby watched him stand. The man looked sweet and sincere. Abby saw no reason to not believe him. Although this was the first time she had ever seen this man, she felt she already knew him, had always known him. She felt perfectly safe in his presence, as if no harm would ever befall her. She didn’t want to leave him, but knew that she must. She had a mission now, a reason for being. These two people the man spoke of would become the representation of him in the next world to come. But Abby wanted to understand, one last thing. She wanted to know this before she had to leave. As she gazed back up at the man, she asked him one last question.
“Who are you?”
The man stood over her, his form defined, as the light shown directly behind his head. As the colors rotated once more through Abby’s hair and eyes, she stared unabashedly at the man’s face, for one last time.
“I am love,” he replied.
This reply filled Abby’s spirit instantly with love. It gave her life and enriched her own being like she had never felt before. She looked up at the man; a big smile on her face as she stiffened up her body, extended her arms out and shook with the joy of just simply being alive. One last time she embraced the man, as he hugged her back, resting his head beside her’s too.
“I love you, Abby,” the man said.
“I love you too,” she replied.
Then they released their embrace, the man taking Abby’s hand in his own, and he guided her away into the light that was shown.
Once Abby was born, her memory of the garden did cease, but it was always with her, inside the heart that was given to her. But, because of Abby’s existence, the two people she was given to could see the garden again. We all forget the garden when we are born; the transition to life seems to wash it away. But when a new parent looks upon their newborn child, the essence of life fills their spirit anew. Suddenly, they can see the sights, they can smell the scents, they can feel the air, and once more they know the garden exists again. No matter the worries and trivialities that prevail in this world, nothing can change that spirit of life the first time you gaze upon a newborn child and begin to dwell on the wonderment that is unconditional love.
We spend so much time creating a façade of what we want to project to the world, we almost forget what we ourselves are truly about in the process. Always remember the garden. When you think of it, you find hope. When you believe in it, you’ll know love. There’s no greater feeling in this world than the day you find out you’re going to be a parent, because from that time on you’ll always have a piece of the garden with you everywhere you go. Never stop searching for peace and happiness, because it is always just one heart beat away.