I feel free. I feel happy. I feel at peace. There is a man with a familiar face walking toward me. He has dark hair, olive-colored skin, and he is dressed in white. He is holding something in his hand—it appears to be a remote control. He is coming closer, he is smiling, and he is gorgeous. How do I know this man?
“Hello, Abigail Marie Gray,” he says softly.
I am speechless.
He hands me the remote and tells me to push the orange triangle. As I look over the gadget, a huge screen rolls down before my eyes. I feel as though I am about to watch a romantic movie. Hey, where’s the popcorn? Actually, where the heck am I? I find the triangular orange button and push it. The gorgeous man smiles at me.
The screen in front of us displays video of a white Volkswagen Jetta parked in a garage. It is my garage, and it is my car—my very dirty car. And sure enough, there I am, entering the garage from the house. I watch as I fumble for my keys and get into the car. Though the scene feels very familiar, I cannot place where I am going or why I look so scared. The garage door opens, and I back out into the driveway. Everything is blanketed in white; it is snowing. Hail begins to hit the roof of my car. I clearly remember this night.
Sitting here, watching myself on this screen, I begin to acutely relive the sensations and emotions playing out before my eyes. My hands tremble. They are freezing, and I am nervous, which is only exacerbated by the fact that I just slid straight through the stop sign at the end of my street. The DJ on the radio says snow accumulations are expected to approach or exceed six inches in twelve hours and will be accompanied by significant wind. He encourages everyone to stay at home. I start to cry. I begin to pray.
Please God, let me get to Jason in one piece.
Angels above, please let his plane land safely.
Making a right hand turn out of my neighborhood, I find myself behind a red truck with a plow and am happy for a brief moment. The ice continues to accumulate on my wipers, and I can barely see through my windshield, but following this truck would make my trip easier. I pray again. My palms are sweating, my stomach is churning, and my heart is racing. The airport is fifty miles away. God, I hope this truck is going the same place that I am.
I continue my ride. Time passes, and I am still following the red truck. Looking to the roof of my car, I thank God for hearing my request. As Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” winds down on the radio, I feel happy again for a moment and remarkably less alone. There is something so comforting in hearing a favorite song, especially in moments of helplessness. I breathe. The DJ announces that it is Double Shot Friday and rewards us with “Slip Sliding Away.” How appropriate; I slide, listening to the song tell me that I’m closer to my destination the further I slip. But the plowman is still with me, and all is well for now. I start to feel hot and turn down the heat in the car.
The movie screen fades to black.
Though the video has stopped, I cannot avert my attention from the screen. The man with the olive-colored skin taps my shoulder. Turning to him, I try to speak, but the words remain tucked in my throat. They are stuck without a chance of moving. He nods in apparent understanding and tells me to push the orange triangle a second time. Complying, I press the button and gaze up again in anticipation of the “movie of me.”
I watch as I pull into the airport, looking incredibly relieved. I park the car, quickly get out, and slip on the ice. “Wait!” I scream, moving toward the red truck as fast as I can without falling. The driver starts the engine and begins pulling away. He turns around and looks through his back window. Smiling, he waves to me.
The movie screen fades to black, again.
“My name is Michael,” says the gorgeous, black-haired man.
My jaw hits the floor in disbelief.
“That was you? You are the plowman! My gosh, you are my angel,” I manage to get out, all in one breath.
He chuckles, “Thank you for the nickname, and I am indeed your angel.”
Handing me an oversized book—brown with gold accents—he says, “This is your life, my dear. Welcome to Heaven!”
What? I slap myself. I pinch myself. I bite my hand.
“How did I die?” I ask. “Where did I die? When did I die?”
“It’s all in the book,” he answers. “Your death, your first day of school, the day you broke your arm, even the day you graduated from college. It’s all in there. We’ve got the good days and the bad.”
I turn to Michael and give him a hug.
“Thank you for leading the way that night.”
He winks and replies, “I’ve watched over you since the day you were born.”
I smile as this realization fills me with an overwhelming sense of joy and love. I am on Cloud 9—literally. I am in Heaven!
Michael carefully opens the book and explains, “This compendium serves as a blueprint of your life, and each chapter is numbered. Enter any chapter code into the remote control to watch it play out on the screen.”
“I can review my entire life?”
“Yes, indeed,” he answers.