Dedicated to my second nephew, Benton, who was stillborn this morning after nine months of anticipation.
And for my brother and his wife as they mourn for their fourth child and first son.

Free

Bliss.

The most beautiful light he has ever seen, shining around him, filling him with warmth until there are no shadows. He floats into awareness and knows that he is before the most powerful being in the universe. He is unfettered by the weights of the world. He is enveloped by a love purer than any he would ever have known.

He cannot remember how he came to be, nor where he had come from. Thoughts fade from his mind like smoke, curling away in the brightness, inconsequential in time. He cannot remember pain, nor evil, nor sadness. They are only words that he is swiftly forgetting; they disappear with everything else he ever knew. The past does not matter any more, nor the future. There is only the present, timeless and everlasting.

In comparison to the beauty of the One that is all around him, the golden streets seem like trash. The gates of pearl are dull and uninteresting, the jewels colorless, the mansions insignificant. Nothing is as majestic as Him. Nothing is as precious as the scars that mark the hands, the feet, the sides, the brow of He who sits at the right hand of God. Nothing is as brilliant as the One who made him.

There are voices around him, lifting up a hymn of infinitely melodic tone, of such adoration that the words cannot be ignored. He joins in, unable to stop the outpouring of love that fills him, bursting with the desire to praise the beauty before him. Yet amidst the billions of those who praise with him, he can only hear one Voice. One sight is before him, One being in three dimensions, One source of light, of joy, of infinite love.

And in the upsurge of elation that he could never have imagined, he knows. He is loved. He is treasured. He is paid for, set free, and forgiven.

He is home.