Peace, Unity, & Love

By
I opened my eyes to a haze of reddish fog that enveloped me like water and as I tried to whisk it away with my hands I began to look around myself. I was in a cave, a large cave it must have been hundreds of miles long and wide. I was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people who looked miserable; their eyes drooped and they slouched over dragging their feet as if they had been walking for years straight. I had no idea where I was and I didn’t remember a thing. I tried so hard just to remember something, but nothing came to mind. I began to search for my mom and dad, but as I walked, each foot seemed to weigh fifty pounds. Everyone around me was screaming or crying or groaning and everything was spinning as my head pounded harder and harder. I brought my hand to my head and a warm liquid covered my hand. I looked down and blood was all over my hand! I began to look around helplessly and everything was spinning and tears filled my eyes as a mixture of sweat and blood ran down my face. I felt pathetic as I fell to the ground without an ounce of energy to even move my fingers, I screamed for help but everyone passed me without sympathy, just passed like it was a normal occurrence. Then my head hit the cold, damp cave floor and everything went black. I was awakened by a frigid hand that rested on my face; I slowly opened my eyes to see a middle-aged lady smiling down on me, looking in compassion, the only hint of understanding I had seen that whole day. Was it a day? How long had I been there? Where was I in the first place? The lady looked at me knowingly, and as if she could read my mind she told me not to worry and that every person that came to the Underworld went through the same thing. The underworld?! I was in hell?!
There was never a time in my entire life that I have ever felt so vulnerable. Tears filled my eyes again and I began to sob; I sobbed so loudly the walls of the cave shook and every single eye was on me. The woman who awoke me began to comfort me and wiped my tears from my face. Her hands felt as if they were made of ice but any source of comfort was welcome at a time like this. I don’t really remember what happened exactly, I just remember her soft voice telling me not to worry or be afraid; between my sobs all I could hear was her telling me that if I would stand up and walk, that I would be able to understand what was happening. I didn’t want to stand, I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to speak, and I just didn’t want to be there, at all and I knew I was going to be there, for eternity. I was helpless as I lay limp and crying on the damp cave floor. What had I done wrong? Had I done anything at all to deserve such a harsh punishment? These thoughts made me cry harder and as what seemed like hours passing I slowly drifted to sleep.
I woke up shaking and my head was still pounding inside of my skull. The lady who had comforted me earlier was still sitting next to me stroking my forehead. I looked at her closely, she looked so familiar to me, and she had the face of a celebrity (meaning a face that you’ve seen but you’ve never talked to). She started to speak, and she asked me if she could finally tell me what was going on. Eager to know, I said yes though I said it through damp eyes and a quivering lip. She first explained who she was. She introduced herself as Princess Diana. Princess Diana! How could I not have known! Of course it was Princess Diana! My jaw must have dropped because she began to laugh. She quickly moved on to the next subject, why I was here. She took a deep breath and told me everything and with each word she said it came back to me, quite vividly, I closed my eyes and I saw it all over again. We were in the car, my mother and I, driving to get ice-cream. It was raining, pouring, and lightening flashed in every direction. The radio was turned up loud and we were singing the lyrics, then headlights, a truck, a horn blared in the still night, I heard the tires screech and the car began to spin; I grabbed my mother’s hand and then black. I opened my eyes and Diana had tears in her eyes. My stomach was in my throat, I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t move and there were no tears left in my body for me to cry. I simply stared off into the distance not moving there was not a single sound, everything was blank. Princess Diana took my hand and told me that my mother had survived the crash. I began to breathe again and collapsed into her arms in sheer relief. The sobs came again, and this time I was not scared or sad but relieved and almost happy. Before I had too much time to think about the crash and death, she proceeded to tell me where we were. We were in the underworld. It was not heaven and it was not hell, it was Hades; a place for un-resting souls. Once your body was properly buried or your spirit became complete, then you could travel on to hell or heaven. Once again, everything she said was relieving to me and with increased understanding I became more and more comfortable in this cave of wandering souls.
We talked for hours, about life; death was a touchy subject. She needed someone to talk to, as did I; but the main thing she kept coming back to in our conversation was peace. What it meant to her, and how she displayed it throughout her life. She told me of her trips to Africa to raise money for those with Aids. She reminisced on her times in Angolan minefields and visiting landmine survivors. She spoke to me of her marriage and the birth of her two sons and how happy she had been; she told me these were the proudest moments of her life. I asked her, with all of the deeds she has done and the love she has given, how was she stuck in Hades? Hadn’t she had a proper burial, in fact a royal burial? She smiled and simply said, I am not ready to meet the Lord yet. I was completely astonished; she was buried with a rosary from Mother Theresa in her hands! How could she not be ready to meet God? She knew what I was thinking and shook her head, and told me it was not that she was not ready to face our Lord but it was that so many souls with no direction or information are lost here, after all the tragedy we have faced, it would not be fair to not have a guide. She took my hand and we began a tour around Hades, my new home for eternity.
We walked slowly through the cave, I looked at each face I passed, the look of anguish and desperation glared back at me. Yet what surprised me the most was that there was not a single person with tears in their eyes, it was as if both happiness and sadness had been taken away from them to reveal a blank and empty soul that was tricked and tormented constantly. Their faces were ashen and wrinkled with dark black circles and as they tried to close their sullen eyes, they would only open wider. I saw about five or six other people reliving the last ten seconds of their life, it was something so horrific and so awful that I hoped to myself not a single other person would be ever be cursed to see such agony. This was no place for the weak hearted; you had to be strong to be here.
NO! Diana said that word so forcefully that I jumped backwards and almost lost my balance. How was she reading my mind? No? NO! She told me many are weak and fragile here, but there are three things here that Hades’ walls, eternal tunnels, and suffering it brings cannot fight. Peace, unity, and love.
Those three words bounced around inside of my head; peace, unity, love, peace, unity, love. She grabbed my shoulder and pointed to a young woman quite near us. She was running in circles screaming “Where’s my baby?!” and Diana walked over to her and whispered something in her ear. The woman looked at Diana with tears running down her face in a look of confusion and then she dropped to her knees, clasped her hands, and prayed. Her prayer was ringing in my ears, I could hear her voice! Lord, I don’t know where I am and I don’t know what I’ve done but please, please if just for a moment, I want my baby boy please Lord God…It went on and on singing through my ears like a droning gong. The lady looked up from at us and smiled for the peace of prayer had given her strength and comfort and for that one second in time she was calm and serene. She looked past us and shielded her eyes, she looked at Diana and Diana simply said the word Go. The woman began to run, harder and faster, sprinting and I looked to see where she was running and there was nothing, just a dark black cave that went on and on. My heart sank for her, she was only running towards a mirage and at the end of her running her hopes would be crushed. I looked at Princess Diana in sympathy for the woman and she looked down at me and told me that long from now I would know. Well, I already knew but I wasn’t going to contradict Princess Diana. She looked at me and raised an eyebrow, I had forgotten that your mind was open to anyone who wanted to know what you were thinking, and it was both a gift and burden. Diana continued her lesson anyway, and never will I forget her next words “Without peace, you have lost your hope, and without hope, you are nothing”. Peace was the root of our feelings, emotions, behaviors, and without its sweet lullaby playing in our heads, chaos and hatred would overtake us. The power of peace began to burn inside of me; I felt calm and collected and wanted to help every soul I saw. We looked down to see a small boy sleeping on the ground, Princess Diana kissed my forehead and told me to look for her again someday, but the small boy needed her help. I began to panic, what would I do without her! She kept me safe from the evils surrounding me in that lonely cave. She patted the top of my head for she had heard my thoughts and pointed to an elderly man wearing a top hat sitting by a puddle touching the top of the puddle ever so lightly to create a ripple in the water. I nodded, smiled, and waved back to her as I went to save a soul.
I walked up to the man and held out my hand with a smile so big on my face, it must have been overwhelming. He smiled and nodded his head in a brief and almost impolite way of saying hello. This time, I immediately recognized his face, it was Abraham Lincoln! For being in Hades, this was probably a good day considering that I was meeting some of the most respected people in history! I said his name to get his attention for he was still staring into the puddle. He looked up, nodded, and simply said “indeed”. Mr. Lincoln gazed back into the puddle and curious to see what he was looking at I leaned over his shoulder and in the water I saw Mary Todd Lincoln and Mr. Lincoln, it was a picture of them, not like the ones I had seen in my history books, but one of her standing outside of the White House kissing him on the cheek. He looked up at me and said that she was really something; he missed her so much that it made my heart ache to look at the picture of them. He quickly stood up and saluted a group of men that walked by in blue uniforms; he looked at me as if I should do the same. I brought my hand to my forehead and stood as tall as I could. Abraham then turned to salute to another group of men wearing gray uniforms that were walking in the other direction. I quickly came to realize that these were soldiers from the Civil War. They simply marched around, for they had been killed without a proper burial and were now forced to march on for eternity. Abraham Lincoln sat down with tears welling up in his eyes; it was the first time I had seen a grown man cry. I heard his thoughts race in my ears: Oh how could I have caused such pain for those boys who will never get to see heaven’s gate. It is all because of me and that war from hell that these boys will wander for eternity. Oh and eternities it has been since I have seen my sweet Mary, oh where is my Mary…the desperation and suffering of the strongest people was shown here. He then looked me in the eyes and told me not to be afraid, that this was normal. What was normal? Suddenly he grabbed his head and started shaking, he was gasping for air! What was happening, how was this normal?! Then I remembered him telling me not to be afraid, I simply calmed myself down and held his hand. His grasp became tighter and tighter around my bony hand as he collapsed onto the ground. Abraham was still. Oh so still, not a muscle moved or twitched but he abruptly opened his eyes, sat up, and pretended that nothing had happened. He apologized to me, took a deep breath, and placed his hand on my shoulder. Mr. Lincoln had a weird way of his eyes seeming to speak for him and in this case I was told that this happens to everyone, and it will even happen to me. He said that it happens to him quite often especially when he is upset, and he was very upset.
Mr. Lincoln sighed and looked away, but when he turned back around he uttered one word. Unity. He told me that in the most desperate of times, with unity, anything could be accomplished. He said that with his help, the Civil War began which only split our nation up and caused innocent young men to roam the depths of Hades. Not only is unity important in desperate situations, but in unity with your family. Unity with human life is the key to keeping peace, creating bonds, and discovering love. Peace, unity, and love! Princess Diana had set me up to learn about unity from Abraham Lincoln! Peace and unity were interlinked because if you had one, then you had the other, but without one of them, the whole system that keeps the world and underworld spinning would collapse. He started to tell me something else, he said that if you discover the unity and love within peace that you can get on outta’-and he stopped. He didn’t speak anymore; he just stared at the ground. After what seemed like fifteen minutes he snapped out of it; he looked up, brought his top hat to his stomach, and quickly bowed. He began to walk away when I walked after him. I asked him where he was going and he looked down at me and said, I don’t know, but away from here. I stopped in my tracks as he walked away from me; I was alone…again.
I didn’t want to walk around, I had seen all too much in one day. I walked over to the puddle that I met Mr. Lincoln at and sat down. I gazed into the pool to see the quite memorable picture of Mary Todd Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln but instead I saw only my reflection. I was beginning to look like the people around me, sunken in eyes, miserable look glued to the face; I was beginning to fit into Hades and somewhere inside of me I was quite proud to fit in. As I was examining my face a boy’s face appeared behind me. I turned to look at his face and a smile beamed down from him. He had the skin of an angel; it looked as if he hadn’t been in Hades for too long at all! He looked about my age; he had black skin, and the prettiest smile I’ve ever seen. He reached out to shake my hand and introduce himself and as he said his name my heart sunk in pure admiration. Eric Brown. He was the young boy who had drowned at my local beach trying to save his girl friend from the rough seas. Eric was only sixteen at the time of his death; I had known all of this information from my local newspaper. There are no words to explain when the life of someone so young’s life is taken, no amount of words can suffice. I looked him in the eyes and smiled, trying to hold back the tears but they came anyway. He shook his head and told me not to cry, that soon he would get to go to heaven, but this made the tears come harder and faster. I simply hugged him and as I did I wondered something I would have never asked him, but forgetting that thoughts were open here, I thought; did he regret dying? He looked at me and asked me if I was kidding, there was not an ounce of regret in his body; he would’ve regretted not saving her. He loved her too much. Love. The third thing that Hades cannot fight! Love, I said it out loud. He responded, yes, I loved her. My tears ran down my face but instead of running over sad and sympathy lips, they ran over a smile that showed my admiration and profound respect for him. He looked into the puddle and gazed off into the distance. Eric breathed heavily for a second and after he had found the right words to say how he felt, he said them. He told me that all his life, adults told him he would know what love is when he was married with children. But Eric knew that with his girlfriend, this was not the case, he knew he was in love. Eric told me everyone knows love, you have love for your family and pets, you have a love for your friends, you have a love for God; and without that who could you be. Sure you would have feelings, but would they matter if no one else cared for you? Love was everything to him, he grew up semi-poor so in conditions like those, you have some things, but love is the biggest gift you have, and you realize it when everything is taken away from you. He relaxed his shoulders and twiddled his thumbs as he shyly admitted that he had never said those words out loud although they were what he lived by.
Suddenly behind Eric I saw a small white light, it continued to get bigger and bigger and I had to shield my eyes! This was what the lady who prayed for her baby had seen! Was this a mirage? What would happen if I ran toward it? Eric Brown looked down at me and told me to run, run fast and hard. I was scared but I heard people telling me to run as fast as I possibly could. When I looked behind me Eric was running in the opposite direction towards something, his own light, and right before I stepped into the light, I yelled across the cave, Peace Unity and Love! Then I ran in! I jumped! For a second everything was white and I was floating and then I opened my eyes. Everything was blurry, but I saw medical equipment everywhere, flowers and balloons filled the pristine room. I tried to turn my head to look at what was grasping my hand but my neck hurt so incredibly badly that I couldn’t. I tried to speak, Hello? Hello? My mother’s face came from the side of my bed where she was sleeping and holding my hand. She looked at me and began to cry and kissed my forehead so many times that I lost count. I asked her where we were and she replied that we were in the hospital; we had gotten into a car crash and I had been in a coma for about a week straight, if I had been in a coma 1 hour longer, they would’ve pulled the plug and… but before she could say anything; my entire family walked through the door, uncles, aunts, cousins, grand-parents, everyone piled into the room and when they saw me open their eyes they screamed in delight, once again, tears were seen on almost every face. Peace, Unity, and Love I thought to myself, peace, unity, and love.





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