The Path of Glory
As the boat sailed through the churning waters, the figures of lost souls trying to swim toward Purgatory splashed around it. Elizabeth wondered if there was something she could do to help.
She whispered that question into Catherine’s ear not wanting to involve the angelic presences traveling in the boat. Catherine gave her a surprised look and said, “They must get to the shore on their own. From there we can help them and we will.” When Catherine said this, the four chuckled and in the next instance, a tea party was set out before Catherine and Elizabeth.
Napoleon on seeing the biscuits left the prow of the boat and came to enjoy tea with his companions. As Catherine poured the tea, Elizabeth found she felt a great sense of relief. Events had moved so quickly since she had died that she had no time to think. It was a welcome time to sit with a hot cup of tea and enjoy the journey to Purgatory.
The sky was filled with brilliant colors to enjoy and without much adieu the lion, the angel and the man were playing chamber music, while the duck boat quacked softly along. This relaxed Elizabeth and she began to feel sleepy. “Can I sleep?” she asked Catherine. “You aren’t falling asleep,” said Catherine. “You are just experiencing time unfolding. Relax and enjoy no time in the present.” Elizabeth looked around the vast seascape and realized time seemed be moving at different speeds.
The water and the swimming figures slowed down until they seemed almost motionless. The churning waters and the moving arms moved as if seconds had become hours. The boat kept up its regular pace sailing rapidly through the slowing waters. In front of them, the mountain of Purgatory seemed to be caught in a time where years were like seconds.
The sun rose and set with such rapidity, that day and night were barely blinks. A rumbling could be heard as the mountain of Purgatory began to become smaller as if eons were passing wearing it away. Then a great explosion marked the emergence of new mountains from the ocean floor. Within a few instances, a mountain range appeared on the island where before only one spiraling mountain existed.
Elizabeth watched calmly because she was in the present where there seemed to be, as Catherine had suggested, no time. She felt her mind, her heart, her whole being coming to a great calm, to a sense of no movement although she was aware of traveling in the rapid boat. She was outside of time and around her time unfolded in different layers like a flower. The tempo of the music played by the four floated in and around the different layers of time as if the tempo of the music was leading the layers of time, separating them. Elizabeth saw time as a rose, and she knew she was at the center of the flower. She felt a light breathe of love above her as if she were a beautiful scent being inhaled by someone who loved her. Then she herself took a deep breathe and time caught up with itself. The water, the swimmers, the angelic musicians and the boat moved in unison.
But something remarkable had happened. In calm, as if it had always been there, the new mountain range rose before them. The musicians on the boat chuckled and announced they would end the journey with a popular hymn titled, “Nearer My God to Thee.” Catherine was not amused. “One of their in jokes. They are teasing us,” she said. “They know how much time has passed on Earth in this unfolding.” Over ninety years,” the duck boat quacked as it came to a stop on the beach of the island of Purgatory. “We’ll have to catch up on our earth history. It is now the 20th Century. As if our job hadn’t become difficult enough,” said Catherine.
She, Elizabeth and Napoleon found themselves standing on the sandy beach looking at Purgatory. It was no longer one spiraling mountain that they had to investigate, it was a mountain range. Where there had been only one path to climb to the top of Purgatory, now there were many. The four angelic figures stood before them and sang in unison, “It is your task to find the path of glory on the Purgatory Road.” “How do we know which way to go?” asked Elizabeth.
As the four figures began to grow brighter, they said, “Follow him.” They were pointing at Napoleon in the instance when they again became 4 stars on in the brilliant sky above Purgatory. Napoleon took that as his cue to run along the beach of the island toward of crowd of swimmers who were coming onto shore. “Just our luck,” said Catherine as she ran after him. Before Elizabeth followed them, she turned and waved at the stars. “Nice to meet you,” she yelled. Then she took off her shoes and ran along the beach after her companions.