Hereafter

Tamara opened her eyes and found herself within in a realm of light and clouds. She was met by a man in a white robe who was apparently waiting for her.

The man was enormous, maybe 24 feet tall. His head was bald, his face was nothing but cotton whiskers.

He greeted her with a nod. Then he said, “Right this way, Tamara.”

And he began walking slowly onward. His feet were the size of jon boats.

“Wait,” Tamara said. “Where am I?”

He turned back. “If you would just follow me, please.”

“But I want to know where I am.”

No answer.

“Please tell me,” she insisted.

But he would not.

The man led her through a long corridor of more light, which led to another corridor, which led to 55 thousand more hallways.

Finally, they reached a tunnel that was made of glass. There was a sheen to this glass, sort of like a bubble from a vat of soapy water. Only this “bubble” was about the size of nine solar systems.

She jogged to catch up to him.

“Aren’t you going to tell me where I am?” she said.

Apparently not.

“I’m dead, aren’t I?” she said. “That’s what this is all about. Because I remember lying in bed… I can remember closing my eyes, and—”

The giant interrupted. “You are not dead. There is no such thing.”

“Then where am I?”

Silence.

She glanced at the glass-bottom floor. She was adrift among the clouds, miles in the air. Beneath her toes was her hometown, and the natural landmarks she’d come to know on earth. Major highways. Trees. Rivers. Mountains. Canyons. The Gulf of Mexico.

They trudged for what seemed like a thousand miles. Or maybe it was only 12 feet. There was really no way to know, time and space sort of mushed together in this place.

Eventually, however, they reached a colossal archway.

They stopped walking.

The gate was taller than the Arc de Triómphe in Paris. Larger than the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri. She rapped her knuckles on it. It made a deep, bell-like sound. The structure was made of an unrecognizable material, like mother of pearl.

“Where are we now?” she asked.

“This is The Gate,” her tour guide said.

“The what?

“As in, the Pearly Gate,” he said.

“You’re joking.”

“Do I look like a comedian?”

This guy was definitely no Dangerfield.

Funny. All her life, Tamara had thought the pearly gates were going to look more like the gates to an upscale residential golfing community. But this was something entirely different. This was a national monument.

Stretched across the opening of the arch was a watery, mirror-like surface, obscuring the other side, akin to a vertical pond. It rippled with the vibrations from their voices.

“Am I supposed to walk through this gate?” she asked.

“That’s up to you.”

“What do you mean, ‘Up to me?’ Why are you talking in riddles?”

Again he was silent.

Whole minutes passed as she inspected the arch. She weighed her options carefully. Should she go in? After all, it was her choice he said. Behind her was earth. Behind her was family, her kids, her friends, her hometown. Behind her was Robert.

Before her was… Well. Heaven only knew what was before her.

“Okay,” she said. “I think I’m ready to go in.”

He nodded once, then gestured for her to enter. “After you,” he said.

Tamara took a few deep breaths. She was nervous. Cautiously, she used her foot to dip into the watery surface. Then she plunged through the gate.

With a loud “whoosh!” she was swallowed in brightness. It was like walking through Niagara Falls. She closed her eyes tightly. She grit her teeth. And she allowed herself to become engulfed.

That’s when she heard the explosive cry of a stadium. When she opened her eyes, before her was a multitude of Biblical proportions. Imagine billions—no, katrillions of people. All cheering.

Imagine the crowds from ten million Super Bowls, all crammed together. Now multiply that throng times another couple billion, and you’re still not even close to the size of this assemblage.

Tamara saw souls from all walks. Figures from world history. Infants who had died in the womb. People from the Old Testament. Former Beatles.

She saw Abraham Lincoln, Saint Francis of Assisi, Vincent van Gogh, Harriet Tubman, Nee Tuosheng, Corrie Ten Boom, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Martin Luther King Jr., Teresa Bojaxhiu of Calcutta, John Wayne, Fred Rogers, Don Williams, Billy Graham, Merle Haggard, the Apostle Paul, the entire cast of the “Golden Girls,” and Andy Samuel Griffith.

Then she saw a familiar figure parting through the crowd and approaching her. It was an older woman. The woman threw her arms around Tamara and squeezed her tightly.

“Mom.”

“I’ve been waiting for you for a long time,” said Tamara’s mother.

Tamara began to weep. “Where is this place?” she asked for the umpteenth time. “I just want to know where I am.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” her mother said with a smile. “You’re home, dear.”

And so shall she ever be.

41 comments

  1. Eric+Thiessen - February 18, 2022 8:41 am

    Briliant!
    Brilliant!

    Reply
  2. Meredith Smith - February 18, 2022 10:35 am

    Beautiful

    Reply
  3. Christine G - February 18, 2022 11:00 am

    Awesome.

    Reply
  4. simplysql - February 18, 2022 11:21 am

    love this – thank you.

    Reply
  5. elliemac3 - February 18, 2022 11:43 am

    i love this! Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Te - February 18, 2022 11:46 am

    Literary license aside, the reported concensus is that everyone in heaven is no older than 35.

    Reply
  7. Lisa K Riley - February 18, 2022 12:29 pm

    Home. Knowing my husband is home, with friends and family, waiting for me, is beautiful. Thank you, Sean!

    Reply
  8. William E Bryant - February 18, 2022 12:37 pm

    What a beautiful picture.

    Reply
  9. Linda Lewis - February 18, 2022 1:24 pm

    Wow! What a beautiful piece of writing. I’m overwhelmed. I was breathless just reading this. Sean you never fail to amaze me. Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Carol from GA - February 18, 2022 1:29 pm

    Love this vision… thank you for sharing and helping the ones still here have some peace for their departed loved ones.

    Reply
  11. Steve - February 18, 2022 1:42 pm

    That’s pretty cool and pretty much how I envision that first step

    Reply
  12. Candace - February 18, 2022 1:42 pm

    Really lovely and comforting.

    Reply
  13. Paul McCutchen - February 18, 2022 1:43 pm

    Cool man,,really cool

    Reply
  14. Shelton A. - February 18, 2022 1:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. God bless Tamara’s family and friends and give their heart’s healing. A beautiful way of
    looking at what happens next. It’s why I no longer fear death. I know this is but a part of my life. Tamara is with those who came before her and with God (and in the glory of his presence). She now lives bathed in love.

    Reply
  15. beachdreamer - February 18, 2022 2:02 pm

    Amen👏👏👏

    Reply
  16. Jan - February 18, 2022 2:02 pm

    Breathtaking and so beautiful. God bless Tamara and her loved ones. God bless you, Sean, for painting this truly awesome picture made of words.

    Reply
  17. Shirley - February 18, 2022 2:09 pm

    Sean
    This one is one of the best images I have ever read as to the More we all move to.
    Thank you.
    Shirley

    Reply
  18. Margaret Jackson - February 18, 2022 2:16 pm

    Oh, Sean. My eyes are welling up. January 4th, my neighbor was having trouble keeping her oxygen up. Her daughter called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Mama Sara told her, “I’m going home today”. Then, “Don’t tell me I am home, I mean my real home.”

    Her heart stopped twice within the first 5 miles from home. They took Sara to the hospital & called her daighter.
    The hospital admitted her to a room. Gita told me later that her mother closed her eyes and started singing a hymn.
    About 2:30 the next morning, Mama Sara lifted her hands, smiled, and said, “Home.”

    She was home.

    Reply
  19. Teresa Decker - February 18, 2022 2:40 pm

    Someday I know….it will be worth it ALL! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  20. Ruth Mitchell - February 18, 2022 3:06 pm

    I just lost a good friend, and your description renews my faith in his whereabouts now. Thank you.

    Reply
  21. Carmen - February 18, 2022 3:24 pm

    Such a wonderful welcome she received! I would venture to guess you jus lost someone close to you… and my heart goes out to you and Jamie…

    Reply
  22. Diane Pate - February 18, 2022 3:38 pm

    I’ve been reading a book called “Imagine Heaven” about NDEs. This really fits so well in that. Thanks for this story, Sean.

    Reply
  23. Pingback: Sean of the South: Hereafter | The Trussville Tribune

  24. Frank - February 18, 2022 3:46 pm

    Just beautiful!
    Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  25. Jay Payleitner, author/speaker - February 18, 2022 4:12 pm

    Nice, Sean. Reminds me of this passage from Point.Line.Plane.Eternity.

    The boy found fellowship with the designer.
    An intimacy with the architect and creator of this multi-dimensional and infinite universe.
    That relationship brought color, vibrancy, and significance to everything the boy did, every word he spoke, and every thought he thought.
    No matter where he traveled.

    The boy finally found a forever home.
    A perfect place waiting for him.
    A place waiting for any and every individual with the courage to look up.
    A home in eternity.

    Reply
  26. Susie Flick - February 18, 2022 4:13 pm

    Beautiful – We all can only imagine and pray – blessings to all.

    Reply
  27. AlaRedClayGirl - February 18, 2022 4:29 pm

    Very peaceful and reassuring to know that “home” is waiting for us, someday, just around the corner.

    Reply
  28. Anne Arthur - February 18, 2022 4:45 pm

    Lovely.
    I hope this is how it will be. Tamara is a lucky woman, blessed to have arrived home.

    Reply
  29. Linda Moon - February 18, 2022 5:04 pm

    The Gate was different than anything Tamara or any of us could ever imagine, Thank God. And right now, I’m imagining some of the people I’ve known and loved that I might see there. Daddy would be first on my list, Sean. And I think your Daddy would be at the top of your list, too.

    Reply
    • Claudia Hibdon - February 22, 2022 3:45 pm

      Not everyone will enter except those with a personal relationship with Jesus. However this is a beautiful heartwarming story to solidify our hope of heaven!

      Reply
  30. Stacey Wallace - February 18, 2022 9:47 pm

    Heaven will be much more wonderful than our finite brains can comprehend, as a former minister of mine once said. May God bless Robert and Tamara’s children.

    Reply
  31. MAM - February 18, 2022 10:53 pm

    Wow. I’m going to share this with a good friend who just lost her Mom. I hope it will help her grieve. Right now she’s in the stoic stage. Maybe this will bring the tears she needs to let go. It brought me to tears, but happy ones.

    Reply
  32. Ann - February 19, 2022 12:40 am

    Wow!…beautiful.

    Reply
  33. Teresa - February 19, 2022 2:09 am

    Beautiful

    Reply
  34. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - February 19, 2022 4:29 am

    Reply
  35. Cathy M - February 19, 2022 3:27 pm

    What a beautiful picture. There’s no place like home. Such a comfort to all , esp. after what we have gone through in the last two yrs. I will send to my sweet friend who lost her husband one week ago today. She is lost but will find her way . Maybe this will comfort her

    Reply
  36. Craig Cox - February 19, 2022 4:46 pm

    Wonderful and beautifully written. Thank you for your writings, they are always enjoyable.

    Reply
  37. Chasity Davis Ritter - February 19, 2022 11:14 pm

    This one has me in tears too, Sean. Both happy and some sad. I think about heaven a lot. I talk about heaven a lot. And we’ve had so very very very many it seems pass away to great place in the last couple of years. Maybe it’s no more than any other year or maybe it really has been. Maybe it’s just because it’s been some extremely hard ones to see go. My Dad, my uncle, my best friends dad. My preacher. My daughter in laws dad. Your mother in law. Just too many to even start mentioning. And we always say well they’re in heaven now. They’ve gone home. And it’s true and we can only pray and hope it’s the home you described today and not the other one that’s waiting too. From what the Bible tells me you need your own personal relationship with Jesus to get there and that dying alone isnt a one way ticket to heaven. I believe that. For most of those ive personally lost I know it for them too but some I can’t be sure of. We don’t know the lives of celebrities we can only hope we will see our favorites on the other side. I’ve read about John Wayne though and I’m sure he’s there talking to my Dad. I KNOW beyond a shadow my dad is there and I’ll see him again and I can’t wait for that. Those last 6 months of his life was all about Jesus and I couldn’t be happier. It wasn’t always that way. But anyway my tears are drying and my heart is ok for now. I’m glad Tamara is with her mother again too. Heavens Gonna be so wonderful we just Gotta make sure those we love really are ready.

    Reply
  38. Dee Carter - February 20, 2022 12:58 pm

    Thank you for this, Sean. I just walked my best friend forever to the threshold of Heaven and handed her over 5 days ago. You have gifted me with comfort and peace. God bless you.

    Reply
  39. Carol Rahn - February 22, 2022 3:02 am

    I am a retired preacher and I love your story. Preachers need to learn how to be story tellers and not preachers. We would see more people in church. Since retirement I have stopped going to church regularly because I am often bored and leave feeling as if I have received marching orders instead of grace. Your writing should be taught in seminary. Just one little thing. ” day. I am a feminist. Why can’t whatever comes after stories involve a slightly overweight woman with grey hair greet the befuddled traveler. We need fewer big husky men and more ‘here, hold my hand’ women. Just my thought on a “Glad this Monday is over” day.

    Reply
  40. Susan Dodd Fraser - February 22, 2022 11:08 am

    Thank you for this. Tears. Joy. Thankfulness.

    Reply

Leave a Comment