"And when I die,
And when I'm gone,
They'll be one child born,
In this world to carry on."
Creedence Clearwater Revival/And When I Die

"Find the cost of freedom
Buried in the ground.
Mother Earth will swallow you,
Lay your body down."
Crosby Stills Nash and Young/Find The Cost Of Freedom

"Don't hang on,
Nothing last forever but the earth and sky
It slips away,
And all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind"
Kansas/Dust In The Wind


She was just about to reach for her fork when it happened. She had been having a wonderful meal with Phil's dad, talking about memories of Phil that each of them had, sharing them and reliving them. She felt a heat rise up inside of her and in a flash she found herself in a large theater facing 4 brilliant spectors of light.

Hello child, we are the ones who watch over the Middle Lands. We are known as the elders.

They seemed to float instead of stand, and Jan found it hard to stare directly at them they were so bright.

"Are any of you God?" she asked bravely, wanting nothing more than to get answers to her many questions.

No child, we are not "God" as you know him/her. However, we have been called such names in the past. We are very old and very wise. Although there have been times when we have been unwise and there are a few who are eternally wiser.

"Well, can you answer some questions for me?" she inquired, desperate to know so much. She felt a wave of what can only be described as love, wash over her from these beings.

Do you have your answers now, little one?

Jan had been so tense but now she visibly relaxed. She even smiled. "Yes, thank you." it makes more sense now.

Good. There is an urgent need to meet with you. We didn’t plan on having you here so soon after your arrival, but time and the sense of a new wind blowing demanded we take action now. We are going to give you a choice because you have earned it.

They spoke in whispers but were clear as a bell to her ears. They spoke in one voice and explained to her the choices.

Jan, you have earned the right of ascendance. Your name has been written in the ledger we hold as being a child of light that has been granted eternal rest. If this is what you wish. But there is another road you can take if you desire. You may return to earth and live another life. We do not know much of this life, except that it will be like most lives with its share of good and bad. However, the good shall outweigh the bad tenfold. You will not need to "learn" any lessons while you are there; this is not the reason you would be sent back. If you needed a life lesson you would not be given a choice.

"Will I fall in love again?" she wanted to know, part of her wanting to hear them say yes and part of her fearing it.

Yes, of course you will. Love is an integral part of living. We have no reason to punish you by witholding something that is as essential to your existence as love. We have no reason to punish you at all, in fact.

"Yes, but would it be Phil?" There, she said it.

Oh child… you must move on. Both life and death hold so many wonders don't hang onto only one.

"But I still don't understand," she began, "why would I chose another earthly existence if I could go on to a better place?"

They sighed, the recent dilemma's and complications wearing thin on them.

You wouldn't if you were smart. This is what worries us. You see, if you do not go then we will be forced to send someone in your place. And this someone will not be able to fulfill the destiny laid out for her. She will fail, and by failing she will change the course of creation. We know this to be true. She has too much to learn in returning. She is not being given a choice in returning like you are, she has to go back.

"So you are saying that I have a job to do back on earth that will affect more than just my own life?" she asked with an insight born of many lives that she had lived before.

Yes, exactly. You have been through many cycles, many lives you have spent on earth and we know your soul is weary. But we can tell you that this will be your last cycle, if you chose it. And this life will be the fulfillment of many others. All the others have led to this one. But we must say again that you have every right to think of yourself now and take your place in paradise.

"That would be selfish of me, I suppose." she thought out loud, pondering the monumental decision she had to make. The elders waited in silence for her answer.

('There is hope!' one thought to the other)

She looked back up at them and took a deep breath. The tension in the room was thick as they waited to here her decision.

"I will of course go back, there is no other way." was her answer, and the elders said a silent prayer of thanks.

"Then so be it." they spoke as one as the light encompassed her and she became merely a memory in the Middle Lands… for now.

Part 40