For some time, as we had been speaking, a luminous shining had appeared in the far distance. As I had watched it, it had grown steadily, and Janet, suddenly catching sight of it, cried:
‘Is that the Place of Meeting?’
‘Yes,’ said our guide, ‘and now, before we arrive, I must veil your eyes, for you could not bear so great a light.’
‘But we will not be able to see anything,’ Janet protested.
‘Oh yes, you will.’ She took from her shoulders two portions of thin material and swiftly bound them about our eyes. At once the luminous shining became fainter but it soon grew bright again as we approached, and by the time we alighted it was brilliant.
‘Wise angel,’ I said gratefully. ‘We did need the veils.’
We found ourselves walking over ground that shone like glass with a light behind it, but it was more yielding than glass and pleasant to our feet. It stretched before us for a great distance, but here and there were narrow paths winding off into the cool depths of closely-growing trees. The contrast between the light and shade was splendid and a little awe inspiring, too. As we walked along, our guide, who had now released us, asked:
‘Have you considered who it is you would like to see?’ I did not hesitate a moment.
‘Moses,’ I said. ‘No, there is another I would like to see even more – oh, so much! It is-‘
Before I could complete the sentence, Janet exclaimed:
We sobered at once at these words. Suddenly the immensity of our request was borne in upon us. We walked on silently until our guide asked with the utmost gentleness:
‘Is there no famous one you desire to see? Some great king, long-passed from earth… or a musician, perhaps, or a writer, or a great orator?’
‘No,’ we answered in a breath.
‘No-one at all?’ persisted our angel. ‘Think now!’
We did so, but all our thoughts led to one.
‘Only-‘ Janet’s voice faltered and died away. There was another long silence. Then we heard our angel draw in a deep breath.
‘Children,’ she said gently, ‘do you not realise that such a being would be invisible to your eyes? You are such very little ones.’
‘Do you mean they would not let us see them?’ Janet asked urgently.
‘Ah no,’ exclaimed the angel. ‘Not that! Think how tender the heart of man is toward little things – helpless little things like babies, kittens, chicks. Their very smallness captivates the heart. No, these Great Ones love their lesser brethren.
‘Then why-‘ I began, but our guide answered my question before it was framed.
‘This great light is but a glimmer of the shining of their glory. You can scarcely bear it now, though your eyes are veiled! Do you understand?’
‘Then you mean,’ Janet whispered, ‘that we would be dazzled and blinded by their glory?’
Rather sadly, Janet and I began to think of someone else we would like to see, but in a moment our angel swept all such thoughts from our minds.
‘It has always been the practice of the Great On to veil themselves that the eyes of the lesser brethren might see them.’
We looked up with dawning hope, and she continued:
‘In eternity, all is now. All that has been, is, you know. Eternity is a circle, and we stand within it..
We strove to understand, but failing, I asked:
‘Will you tell us more simply? We do so want to know.’
‘The exalted being cannot show himself to his lesser brethren as he is, but he can veil himself in the mists of time. The
fishermen of long ago saw a young lad, pure and beautiful to look upon. . .’ Her voice died away.
Taking us each by the hand she suddenly turned off into a narrow path, and following it, we were soon in the depths of a wood. The light came to us more faintly, streaming through the trees like earth moonbeams. The angel paused.
‘Here,’ she whispered, ‘in the shadowed glades it is possible…’ Again her voice faded, then, grasping us each by the shoulder, ‘Go! Follow the path. Fear nothing. I will await you, and pray.’
Breathless with awe, we turned our steps into the deeper shadow. The great trees seemed to lean over us protectively. Our hearts were light. .