On my way back to the Hall of Reception I was called aside by another of the Purple-Gowned. He was a young fellow, slim and fair. Looking into his eyes, I knew that he had known little of earth-life. His glance held that serene, clear look which one sees in that of a very young child.
“Bernard, I sent out a message,” he explained as I arrived at his side, “hoping you had not drawn your mental veil. You see, I want your help.” We clasped shoulders.
“Greetings, Richard! Am I right in thinking that you have long been of the Purple-Gowned?”
“Yes. Soon I am to receive the First Star.” He looked so happy that I knew this was something thrilling. I was just about to ply him with questions when he began, “Let me tell you about my charge.”
“All right,” I agreed, a little regretfully, but of course I knew that service to others must come first if we would have true joy.
“She wanted to have a baby while on earth,” Richard explained, “but she never did. It was just the one desire of her whole life. Not that she fretted! But she carried it in her secret heart, dreamed and prayed. You know.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“She always kept her faith and her trust in the Love of Jesu.” He said this last word with such tenderness, with such a note of awed adoration that the tears sprang into my eyes. Oh, fortunate Richard, and surely well-deserved, the First Star! “She is not surprised to be here,” he went on, “but she cannot get over the thought that it is all over, that now she will never have her wish.”
“Poor mother,” I murmured.
“Mother?” he questioned. “But that is just the point. She is not—.”
“Have you not heard of the Mothers of the Plane Between?”
“Only that the mothers meet their children in sleep,” he said perplexedly, “but those are real mothers.”
“These are real mothers, too. People on earth think so much of bodies. They desire to have children who will look like them—an unconscious conceit, but He understands. Now the reason they want children to be of them, and to resemble them, is because they want to have proof that something of themselves will live after their own death.”
“Yes, I see that. And of course, in Heaven they do not need this proof because they know they will live for ever?”
“But what of the companionship? A woman longs for a companionship that is closer than any other. Nothing can be quite the same as a child of her flesh. Elsa made that clear to me just now.”
“I see she did,” I smiled. The dear fellow must have been a deep comfort with his gentle ways, and great child-eyes. “People on earth,” I explained, “are, as it were, separated into compartments by their bodies. Each compartment has its little window through which the individual gazes out toward others. Now the one crying need of their hearts (although they do not always realise it) is to get close to another, to pierce that confining sheath. This is the root of the two greatest loves on earth—mother love and marriage love.”
“You are wise,” Richard said simply. I passed it by in silence, not pausing to explain that I had drawn from the eternal wisdom-stuff of Heaven’s realm.
“When a woman arrives here with that longing unfulfilled,” I went on, “she has to be shown that she has no sheath. True, she has a body and this body closely resembles the one she had on earth, but this no longer acts as a compartment.”
“Why is that?”
“Richard, you know you could draw all this knowledge for yourself, if you willed!”
“I know, but even in Heaven it is sometimes clearer to have another person draw and explain. Call it laziness, if you like!”
“I understand, for I feel just like that. Well,” I continued in answer to his question, “with her advent into Heaven she has been given spiritual powers and senses. By helping her to unfold them, we teach her that she is close to all beings, no longer alone or neglected or isolated. Then she does not desire to have a child of her own body, because she is equally close to all children.”
“What a marvellous discovery!”
“Of course it sometimes takes a little while to help her to see this. She may want to see it but be at first unable to grasp it. That is where our patience comes in. But as soon as she has understood, she has the knowledge for all time. Then all children become her children.”
“That is wonderful.” Richard was silent a moment. “Now tell me what you meant when you called her a mother.”
“Oh, I was saving that for the last,” I laughed, “or else you might have rushed off to tell her the news without waiting for the whole story.”
“Elsa is a mother of the Plane Between. Children come here sometimes, who were not wanted on earth. When the other kiddies visit the Plane Between and come back with glowing stories of their mothers, could we deny these little ones?”
“No, but how—.”
“Each one of these kiddies,” I interrupted, “is given a ‘mother’ on earth to love and pray for, and visit. Gradually the mother is drawn in her sleep to the Plane Between, and there introduced to her ‘child’. Thus they become truly Mother and Child. You see, there is no confining sheath to separate them. They can become as close as the heart of any woman could desire.”
“Does every woman have a child in the Plane Between?”
“No, because there must be the desire to draw her, but any woman who has yearned for a child of her own finds full satisfaction there. A delightful relationship is set up, the mother playing and talking with the child, the little one recounting its Heavenly adventures, the lessons it learns. Then of course, praying for the mother constantly. When death unites them at last, they know one another intimately and are acknowledged as Mother and Child throughout the realm.”
“Oh, how good the Father is! He is most truly all love. And Elsa? Has she a child here?”
“Yes. Go on, my dear fellow; tell her about it. As you speak, she will begin to recall it, and when you take her to the Hall of Children she herself will single out her child.”
“Bernard, good-bye!” He was away on his errand of mercy.