The Walls of Heaven
He preached hellfire and brimstone to his flock,
Often shouting loud enough to deafen.
He boasted he’d make the Pearly Gates rock,
When he stormed the mighty walls of Heaven.
Sometimes there is a price that must be paid,
For untold years of bombastic railing.
As a flag flown too long gets worn and frayed,
His doughty voice, and his health, were failing.
Depressed and in doubt, he drifted alone,
On a dark sea of self-accusation.
Feeling the victim, each thought would bemoan
The events that caused his situation.
As deeper he plunged in the sea of doubt,
His vision grew increasingly dimmer.
The dark pulled him down, he could not get out,
He felt lost -- he was not a good swimmer.
In desperation, he screamed, thrashed around,
Silently pleaded, and prayed for ransom.
A green light carried him to higher ground,
Thinking he’d been captured by a phantom.
He opened his eyes, it was nearly dark,
He still sat on his sofa at twilight.
His fireplace cast shadows, eerie and stark,
And they danced in the emerald green light.
In his chair, a man, neither young nor old,
Sang a song that was soothing his heartache,
Dressed as a minstrel with a smile so bold,
He could feel all his defensive walls break.
The Minstrel sang about Heaven and Hell.
His words painted pictures so very real,
The preacher saw, even felt them so well,
He saw errors that he’d made in his zeal.
The pathways to Heaven are paved with love,
Not hellfire, not brimstone, not even gold.
Pearly gates are not waiting up above,
To be locked and leave you out in the cold.
The Minstrel sang on, there was so much more,
It seemed that he never ran out of breath,
As he sang the truth about Heaven’s door:
Our only doorway to Heaven is death.
Images followed of beauty and grace,
But nowhere appeared a fence or a wall.
He saw Heaven, he saw every place,
For there are no walls in Heaven at all.
Though he opened his eyes in twilit gloom,
No fire, no Minstrel, no song in the air,
As he looked around his old living room,
He could still hear and see The Minstrel there.
He remembered it all in coming years,
And though he never spoke out loud again,
His writings brought laughter and happy tears,
And for those who feared death, relief from pain.
Walls and gates either keep people in or keep people out. Neither one seems necessary in Heaven…