You can spend a long time in a library if you have a body that never
tires, never needs to eat or drink, and most importantly, never has to
be bathed. Combine this with the discovery that the Library of Heaven
has a complete collection of every note, paper, doodle, e-mail, and in
my case, musical composition that you had ever written or performed in
your life, and what you have is a recipe for an act of narcissism so
unfathomable that it is a good thing that the deeper stacks of the
Library are so private. I had found a paradise within Paradise.
Try to imagine that you had lived in one house for eight-five years and that you had never moved and never thrown anything away. In that house were every receipt you had ever received, every letter you had ever sent and every memento you had ever collected. Now triple what you imagined and you might come close to the mass of historical records and personal affects that awaited me in the Heaven's Library.
There was so much I had forgotten: crayon drawings of Tigger and Pooh, endless Lego creations, the notebook where I had first written my name, a recording of my first guitar lesson, stacks of letters to Santa, sand drawings from trips to the beach, my first report card, my entire childhood laid out before me in my own hand and voice. And beyond that the collection only got larger. Photos, poetry, locker combinations, role playing game papers, scribbles in text books, tests, and a thousand other creations of adolescence and young adulthood were lovingly compiled and organized before me.
Had I been on Earth, having this much of my life open for all to see would have shamed and frightened me, but here in the light of Heaven I understood its purpose. Here was my essence. The marks I had made in life were not only my links to the past, but also a statement of purpose for the present and future. Had I ever need to know what kind of person I was or could become all I would need do is come here and see the story laid out before me.
"You are impressed with the efforts of the my brothers I see." A deeply musical voice much like a bassoon floated through and around me. Turning my attention away from my keepsakes I saw a creature that looked like a miniature elephant with golden-feathered wings and a golden halo above its head. The creature's trunk swayed gently between two tusks the size of a child's arm. Despite it's strange appearance I felt no fear of it as if it radiated an aura of calm.
"Are you the Guardian?" I asked the creature in my own tongue.
"I am one of the Cherubim, yes." The creature bent its think legs slightly and lowered its head briefly as if bowing. "You are Mason del Rio, Dabiel said you would probably be here. I am to watch over you and see that you learn the ways of Heaven." The cherub held out its trunk to me as if it wanted to shake hands. Suppressing a sudden urge to laugh, I took the trunk in both of my hands and gently shook it up and down. How anyone on Earth could have confused a creature like this with a chubby baby with wings was beyond me.
"My mother always loved elephants. She liked their long memories and the way they were devoted to their families."
"Your mother was wise, Mason." A soft note rang out between us and the cherub withdrew its trunk from my hands. "I am now attuned to you, blessed one. I shall always know where you are and how you are doing no matter where you might be in Heaven." The notes of the angel's song took on a serious tone.
"Do you have a name or should I just call you my guardian?"
"My name is Pactryll, but you may call me whatever name is easiest for you."
"That may be dangerous, Pac, because I once had a cat whom I called any one of eleven names."
"As you wish, but much like a cat, blessed Mason, I may not come when you call. I am here to help you, not be your pet - nor your servant."
"Of course, I meant no offense, Pactryll."
"You need not to worry about my feelings. I would protect you regardless of anything you might say or do. My duty to an attuned is a sacred covenant, and even if you were not a precious soul to Heaven, I would nonetheless carry it out."
"Whoa, you're pretty serious about your work aren't you?"
"This is not work, Mason, this is what I am. I could not be otherwise and still be an angel."
"What do you mean?" Pactryll stared at me intensely with one of his large golden elephant eyes.
"Were I to forsake my nature, I would Fall and become a demon. As a human, you may not understand what such a change entails, but I would rather die than embrace such a Fate."
"And if there are demons, I suppose there must be a Devil and Hell too?"
"Yes, Mason, the Adversary and his domain are both very real."
A feeling of dread swept over me. I had never believed in the Devil, and had never wanted to imagine what such a creature would be like if it were real. Knowing that it was reminded me of my doubts at the Gates and filled me with a dark dread. What if I had chosen wrong? How close had I come to seeing the Beast I had denied firsthand? The question left me with a cold feeling inside. I shuttered.
"My God, how close did I come to being damned?" I sat down on the floor and drew my knees close to me. A deeper and scarier question came to me. If there was a Hell, could someone I know be there? "I should find my family, my friends. What if... ?" I could not speak the possibility. I was too afraid that to speak it would make it real.
"This question comes to all the blessed eventually. Take some time to gather yourself, and when you are ready we will begin the search for those you love. Have faith. If you have earned a place in Heaven there is a good chance those around you have as well."
I prayed with all my heart that Pactryll's words would be true.
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