One night while I dreamed I found myself walking down the street in a giant wonderful city. The buildings in the city were all white, and they were so tall that you couldn’t even see the tops of some of them. The streets were paved with golden pearlescent bricks, and they were lined with neat rows of evergreen trees and shrubs.
I walked the streets for a while in amazement, but eventually I started to feel uneasy. There was no one else around. There was no one else on the road with me. There were no cars driving, no doors opening and closing, there were no sounds at all except the sound of the breeze rustling the leaves in the trees.
Once I did see someone open their door. They peeked out, but as soon as they saw me they slammed the door shut again. That made me feel even more uneasy, so I decided to get off the main road.
I came to a place where a red brick pathway split away from the main road; it led down into a wide alleyway with what looked like apartment buildings on each side. The look of the alley gave me a good feeling, like maybe I would find some people there, so I took it.
A little ways down the alleyway split again. One way, to the left, looked the same as the alley before it, but to the right the path led to an entryway through a large wrought iron gate. Beyond the gate was an open courtyard with trees and bushes growing inside. There were benches to sit on, and I heard the sound of water like from a fountain. On a gate hung a plain white Christian cross.
“A Christian Cross”, I thought, “This must be a safe place.” I had a good feeling, so I decided to go in.
The courtyard opened up into a garden park. At the end of it was a broad and tall temple with two massive wooden arched doors at the front. I made my way across the courtyard toward the temple doors thinking I would go in.
I stood before the arched doors for a while. They were so big, and the temple itself was so large, that I was afraid to approach them, so I just stood there marveling at the size of it and wondering what to do.
Then a door opened in one of the smaller buildings off to my right. A girl stuck her head out and smiled at me. She had long curly golden-brown hair styled in a loose ponytail trailing all the way down her back. She had bright shining eyes, a joyful smile, and she wore a flowing golden summer dress.
“Are you looking for the kingdom of God?”, she asked.
I was utterly dumbstruck by her beauty. I just nodded, and she beckoned me inside.
The room inside looked like a small private lounge. There were soft leather chairs and sofas, tables and booths made of solid well-aged wood, and there was a bar behind which the golden haired girl returned to serve drinks. In the middle of the lounge there was a small swimming pool, maybe eight feet long and six feet wide, with a diving board at one end. The water in it was murky and dark.
The room was filled with people, and they all fell silent as I entered. They stopped talking and stared at me as I came in.
I glanced around the room. The people were all lovely young women with flowing hair, shimmering summer gowns in white and silver and gold, and they had joyful smiles and shining eyes. I felt like I had walked into a secret club where the world's most lovely actresses met in secret, and they were all now starting at me.
I stood there, sheepishly glancing around the room. The girls gave me little waves and warm smiles as I glanced at them. Finally the golden haired girl motioned me over to a seat at the bar.
When I sat down the girl served me something sweet to drink. It reminded me of a chai latte. I took a sip of it and finally got up the nerve to speak.
“So”, I said, “Is this the kingdom of God? Do we all hang out together here?”
“Not exactly”, she said, smiling sweetly, “You have to dive into the pool first”.
I looked back at the pool again. The water was pretty murky and dark, I couldn’t tell how deep it was, but it didn’t seem too scary. “Okay, I’ll jump in”, I said.
“Great!”, she handed me a swimsuit, “Put this on, and then go sit down on the diving board. You’ll just have to wait a minute while we make sure everyone is ready to watch.”
I put on the bathing suit and sat down toward the back end of the diving board. The board didn’t have a spring, and its surface was smooth.
I had only waited a minute when I heard a man’s voice call out from behind me, “Yup. I’ll jump with him.”
I looked and a young man wearing a bathing suit and goggles on his head came jogging up toward me. He was young and remarkably handsome. He had a full head of slicked back brown hair, he looked like he had just been swimming, his skin was tanned, and his muscles were toned. As he got closer I realized he was my friend Zachary. I didn’t recognize him at first because, when I knew Zach, he had pasty pale skin, his hair was thinning, and he wore an old ugly pair of glasses with thick brown rims. Now he was the picture of heath. He sauntered over like he hadn’t a care in the world.
“Hey Buddy”, he said with a smile. He climbed onto the diving board and sat down in front of me, and then glanced back over his shoulder and said, “You’re going to want to hang on”. And he grabbed on to the sides of the diving board himself.
I did the same and instantly the ceiling opened up above me. In the same instant the diving board went rocketing up, strait out of the building.
The diving board shot upward. The windows of the buildings beside me whizzed downward out of view. My heart was pounding in my chest as we flew up higher and higher.
Windows in the skyscrapers continued to whiz by. “How high could we possibly go?” I wondered, “At this height a slight breeze could push us off course, and that pool was only like six feet wide!”.
I had barely finished the thought when we cleared the top of the building beside us. Now I could see the entire skyline of the city stretching out in front of me, and I began shaking with fear.
I gripped the sides of the diving board tight, and hunched myself over; my body was shaking violently, and I felt like I might vomit. My body felt chilled to the bone, but we still kept rising. Then, for a brief moment, there was a white mist all around me, and then there was a bright light.
Now the sun shone brighter than I had ever seen before and all around me was a sea of white clouds. I was shaking uncontrollably as I looked around.
Zach said over his shoulder to me, “Don’t look down”. He didn’t say it like a joke, but seriously, as if it were against the rules to look down. Then he pulled his goggles over his eyes, he slid himself to the edge of the board, he turned around once more and said, “And don’t worry man, you’ll be fine.” And then he slapped his hands together over his head and rolled forward off the board into a dive.
Now I was alone. My body was still shaking uncontrollably. My mind was racing considering the probability that the wind doesn't throw me off target for the tiny pool below. Beyond that, supposing I did manage to hit the water, I felt pretty certain that the water would be hard as concrete jumping from this height. My teeth were chattering in my head as I began to seriously regret my decision to do this.
Some minutes went by like this. I was wondering at how cold I felt, thinking it must be the wind making me feel so cold.
“I better not loosen my grip”, I thought, “incase the wind blows me right off of here.”
Then it occurred to me that I might want to lay down on the board, just to be certain the wind doesn’t blow me off, but I was also terrified to move at all. I decided to try to feel the wind on my skin, in order to sense whether or not I needed to lay down. I tried to concentrate on my skin, to feel the wind on it. I focused and I could feel the wind, but it was only a breeze. It was actually a warm breeze. And the sun was also warm on my skin. It wasn’t cold up here at all.
Looking up, I felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I tried to let the warmth of the sun and breeze soak into me, and my trembling began to subside. I looked around and started to appreciate just how beautiful it really was up here with the sun shining down on this sea of clouds.
A felt perfectly stable sitting there, I wasn’t in any immediate danger of falling, so I calmed down some more and focused on my breathing; taking slow breaths, I continued to let the sun’s warmth fill me up.
In the distance, far below, I thought I heard a crowd cheering. I listened more carefully and heard it definitely; it was a crowd, like a stadium, cheering and shouting. The golden-haired girl had said she was going to make sure everyone was ready to watch. Had she meant everyone?
Now I could hear the crowd below clearly. I still felt terribly afraid, but I was calm enough to consider my options. I could jump, or I could chicken out; that was it. If I didn’t jump, that whole crowd below would know what chicken I was. If I did jump, at least I wouldn’t be a chicken.
“Besides”, I thought, “This is for the kingdom of God, and God would not let one who put his faith in Him be destroyed.” And with that thought, I slid myself forward to the edge of the board, I slapped my hands together above my head, I closed my eyes, and I rolled forward off the edge of the diving board.
Falling through the air, I opened my eyes just as I passed out of the clouds, and I was amazed. Just below me there was an olympic size swimming pool on top of a massive skyscraper. There were bleachers filled with people on either side of it, and the people burst into cheers when they saw me break through the clouds. My heart rejoiced, and then I straightened out, I pointed my finger tips toward the water, and I closed my eyes.
I splashed down into the water easily, it was cool and refreshing. When I came up, everyone around me was cheering and clapping. Zach congratulated me and slapped me on the back as I got out of the pool, and loads of people I had never met before came down out of the bleachers to shake my hand and congratulate me.
Soon I returned with the golden-haired girl down below to the lounge. The girls there all left one by one, each saying goodbye with smiles and waves, until only the golden-haired girl and I were left.
She smiled her radiant smile at me, “It is time for you to go now too”, she said, “but don't worry; you will be here again soon when your toils on earth are all finished”. Then she hugged me, kissed my cheeks, and I woke up from my dream.