Gates of Gold

July 26, 2011
He walked up to them with poise and confidence, like he was used to 4-story golden gates. The gatekeeper peered at him from over a large book.
He nodded. "Name please?"
"Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi. G-a-n-d-h-i."
"Ah, yes Mr Gandhi. You've done great things." he flipped a switch, and the gates started to swing open. For such large pieces of metal, they moved silently. "Your house is on 34 Dove Street."

Smiling, he stepped through the gates. Though he was a man who's seen many things, this impressed even him. Huge golden houses, paved golden street, all of it gleaming. And how could one big, fluffy, marshmallow of a cloud keep all this afloat? How could nobody on Earth see this? He looked like somebody going to a big city for the first time, and he was, in a way. Gazing upwards at the houses, he slowly picked his way towards the house. The streets were surprisingly empty. Yes, there were a few people milling around, but nothing like you'd expect. Apparently getting into Heaven was even harder than people thought. He entered his own house, and was amazed. From the outside it was a large golden mansion, but inside it was just like his house on Earth. He smiled. It was cozy, and just how he liked it. Only one thing was different. On his floor sat a little white card with an address and time on it.

Just as the huge golden clock struck noon, Gandhi approached the large pearly gates. The only house that wasn't gold in the whole neighborhood, and the largest by far. He knew just who this belonged to. He walked up the path and into the main hall, then made his way to the dining room. He didn't know how, but he knew just what to do. Sitting on the smaller chair at the end of the table, he waited for his host. Soon enough, the big doors on the other end of the hall opened and out stepped an elderly man. Nothing like the God one would expect. He was humble, stooped over. He had a graying beard and walked with a cane. But His eyes shone with so much kindness and power, there was no doubting who He was. Gandhi stood up, not knowing what he should do. He bowed deeply. The old man chuckled.
"No need for such formalities, my friend. Here we are all equal." He had a deep voice, strong and very unexpected from his body. Gandhi smiled and sat back down. Food started appearing on the table, all kinds of food. Over lunch, they discussed trivial things, like old memories and the state of affairs on earth. Suddenly, God put down his fork and just looked at him.
"Uhm.... Yes?
"Can I ask you a question? I've asked a lot of people and nobody's given me a good answer."
"Sure, shoot."
"What does it mean to be human?"
This took him by surprise. He thought for a minute, turned it over in his mind like he was chewing on taffy, thinking of a good response. He came up blank.
"Why are you asking me? You're God, you know everything, so shouldn't you know better than me?"
"Like I said, I've asked many people this. I know the answer, of course, but the way they answer gives me an indication of what Earth is like at the moment. Of course, they always beat around the bush because they don't know how to respond. So, just this once, please... may I have a straight answer?"
Gandhi sat for what felt like years and thought hard. No matter what, he couldn't think of something to say that sounded right.
"I don't know how to put it into words. Just give me some time, I'll tell you when I figure it out myself."

Later that night, he laid down in bed and thought some more about it. In the middle of the night he finally came up with an acceptable answer. Sitting up and switching on the light, he grabbed some paper and began to write

The next morning, God woke up to a note taped on His front door. He grabbed it and sat down to read over breakfast:

I thought long and hard yesterday over your question. It took me all night, but I thought up a suitable answer. To be human is to be flawed. To be human is to be weak in some ways, strong in others. To be human is to have an ego, such an ego as will tell you that yours is the greatest nation in the world, the greatest world in the universe, and the greatest species in that universe. To be human is to understand little and fear all that you do not understand. To be human is to plan, to speculate, to think, to deceive. To be human is to lust and to love. To be human is to see the future, not for what it will be but for what it could be. I don't know if that suits you, but I think it's honest and direct.


Mahatma Gandhi
Now it was God's turn to think. This certainly was the best answer He'd ever gotten. The man was a genius, no doubt. He invited him over once more for lunch. They chatted again about unimportant things, but when dessert came, the serious talk began.
"God, why did You call me up here again?"
"Your response was the best I'd ever heard. Tell me more."
"Sir, it took me hours to think up that little paragraph. There's no way I could tell you more about what it is to be human now."
"Fine.... Then what is it to not be human?"
"I'll let you know someday. I don't like to discuss these things over cake."

Gandhi left shortly after that, leaving the old man to brood over things in His great chair. The world needed more like that man, for sure. He was honest and confident and extremely wise. The two of them would have to have more talks someday.

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