Worlds of imagination by Sara B. Gauldin
If you are reading this letter, then I am gone. I will not send Liam to his destruction alone. If he is meant to be destroyed in his mortal journey, then I will not continue in this realm without him. I am sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to stay. I regret the charges I will have to abandon the most, but I know that there are other guides with a newer and more adaptable temperament who will be better able to guide them once I have gone. I know I will leave you with more questions than answers, but please allow me to try to explain my decision.
There are times in a mortal life when the idea of continuing seems like more than one can bear. Every lifetime comes equipped with challenges that batter the corporeal soul from unpredictable angles and vantage points. At some point, the age-old question “Why me?” begins to seep into to each consciousness. It’s a valid question that begs for clarification; why should we suffer through the hardships life throws at us? Why is one individual plagued by illness or poverty or loss, while another who is no more or less deserving can carry on with not as many of life’s burdens to carry?
I constantly see the hardship and pain that mortal lives bring to those who are meant for the journey. Ironically, I am privileged enough to know the answer to the hardest question: why. The why is simple; everyone who is born to a mortal life has a specific purpose in the grand churning of matter, energy and biologic functionality that is the experience of life. Keeping people on the path to their own success is sometimes the reason for the hardships and lessons they must learn.
I suppose I must sound like a bit of a sadist. I’m not in the business of torturing mortals for my own entertainment. After all, I wasn’t The One who chose their purpose. It is not my ultimate plan. So when a corporeal is pushed to their breaking point, I have to accept that was part of the person they were meant to be. Worst-case scenario, they succumb to their terminal existence and are given a more enlightened perspective before being reissued for another try.
Where does that leave me? If my existence has become both unbearable and impossible, then what is there left for me in this plane? I will never perish. I will never be given a second chance. My mistakes are mine to bear for eternity. And some mistakes are not forgivable. Sending your soul mate to be destroyed in that baser temporal realm is not a reasonable behavior to expect from anyone. So here I am. I have reached the end of my existence as a guide. Today Liam will begin his mortal journey, and the road that will lead to his destruction. He has no idea what he will be asked to sacrifice. I have failed him even in that. My one source of comfort is that he will not grieve for me. His mortal mind will shield him from the memory of our love. When Liam transitions to his birth, it is my intention to follow him into the portal. If the legends are true, my link to The One’s immortal spark will be severed, and I will meet the fate that I send him to. It seems only fair.
Please know that your friendship has meant more to me than you realize.
Terra folded the letter and looked at it with a grim sense of resolve. Time was running out. Liam would be leaving The Tweens to be born as a mortal in a matter of hours, but she was no closer to finding an alternative. Liam’s creation had set a series of events into motion that were intricately laced into so many other outcomes. His fate would not be rescinded.
A slow shudder went through Terra as she envisioned the course Liam’s life would have to take. Her decision was made. She would leave the letter for Halle in the corner of the frame to the portrait of earth’s sunset that Halle had given her as a gift. That way, when Halle’s art was returned to her, she would understand the decision Terra had to make.
Several months earlier…
Terra gazed into the complacent mob of trainees and braced herself to give a training speech. The strange tension of anxiety gripped her, but she was determined to continue; she would not allow herself to be perceived as weak. The room seemed larger from her vantage point. The faces that should seem young and naïve now appeared expectant and demanding. A soft blue hue emanated from them like the pale glimmer of light passed through water. She clutched the podium for support and willed herself to begin the speech.
”The pitfall of a productive career is the obligation to convey the means of that accomplishment to the less successful or less-experienced masses,” Terra murmured. She was determined to firm up her resolve. Let’s just say that Terra was not by nature a teacher; she was very content in her role as a guide. She cleared her throat and gazed at the silent audience of prospective guides. These individuals were meant to be the essential component of so many mortal lives on Earth; so many choices were in their hands and in their future. The eventual courses of so many lives rested on their effectiveness. They looked to Terra and other experienced guides for an example. They would learn to look to The One for options and absolutes. Success would depend on so much more; only experience could teach them that portion of their duty.
Terra took a deep breath and committed to telling them the most essential truth about mortal life. “The human mind is a tangible thing. Mortal flesh was never made for resilience. It is flawed and imperfect. At best, it is a filter for the soul. At worst, it is more like a stopper. Immortal memories are a different thing; unencumbered by the fleshy constructs of humanity. I can remember every soul I have guided. I can tell you when and where they carried out their human lives and what part they had to play in eternity. I can recall every detail, but I choose to focus more on those individuals who are currently in the mortal form than The Ones who have completed their challenge.”
Terra’s voice wavered as she began to speak; as she continued she steadied herself. Her knowledge, rather than her passion, began to show through her awkwardness. She let herself become encompassed by her speech. The faces among the crowd appeared to grow distant as they merged into a single sea of impersonal color. Terra tucked a wisp of her fine blond hair behind her ear, her piercing blue eyes trained on the general direction of her audience.
“The distinction is what’s important; being able to interpret the degree of filtration a human mind will have on a soul’s achievement is crucial in guiding that soul to a successful result. What could be more important?”
Terra continued, “It is clear that the spirits’ journey into the mortal world varies from individual to individual. Essentially there are two extreme scenarios and many degrees of combinations in the middle. On one end of the spectrum, the soul has complete dominion over the mortal mind and instinctual body. These individuals have a clear perspective on their own purpose and role in life. Often this degree of clarity results in individuals who are highly motivated to move towards the greater good. The down side to this arrangement is that, without the motivation of instinct and worldly concerns, it is more possible for these individuals to neglect their own personal or physical needs in favor of more transcendental pursuits. This tendency can shorten the entities’ stay in the mortal world, which can hurt the chances of completing their spiritual goal despite the clarity of the goal.”
Terra paused to allow those in the audience who were taking notes to catch up. She realized that her knees still trembled slightly as she waited. After an uncomfortable pause she continued.
“Ironically, the situation where an individual is wholly focused on a spiritual purpose and neglectful of the physical led to the very fleshy injuries that caused the second extreme to stand in the way of completion.”
Terra was fully in the moment. She gradually released her vise-like grip on the podium and began to gesture as she spoke. The crucial designation was clear to her.
“The second extreme is the unfortunate circumstance of the trapped soul. The soul finds itself completely subject to the needs, wants, instincts, limitation or physical damages to the mortal body. This can manifest itself in many ways. The least extreme form of physical dominance is the situation where individuals experience some form of conditioning or mental malfunction that causes them to become more focused on themselves than on the larger picture of existence. Hedonism is a dangerous distraction in the mortal world. The more limiting form of physical dominance involves entities who find themselves trapped or disabled by their corporeal body or mind. Some are born with physical or mental limitations; some suffer injuries along the way that inhibit their ability to overrule their physical inclination in favor of their greater purpose.”
She was completely wrapped up in the moment. She could feel the burning importance of truth shining through in the form of her speech, and realized that it was the perfect time to discuss the most important part.
“Most successful individuals find a balance somewhere in the middle. Life is, after all, intended to be a balance between the physical and spiritual beings. A well-balanced life is far more likely to serve the greater purpose well, and to complete the finer tasks set forth for them.”
The remainder of the speech seemed to flow from Terra’s consciousness; the moments blended together. Terra realized that she had imparted the knowledge that she had come to pass along. Her term as a public speaker was at its end, at least for the time being. The crowd clapped politely. None of the faces before Terra reflected the essentially crucial nature of the message she had shared. She felt herself flush slightly. The spell was broken. Her self-consciousness now washed over her like a wave.
As Terra returned to her seat, she found the faces of the masses distinguishable once again. She only recognized a few of the trainees. More guides were created when the number of souls dispersed to Earth increased. Clearly, Earth was becoming more crowded over the eons. She wondered what the ultimate capacity would be as she walked to her seat near to rear of the amphitheater. The next speaker, a guide named Nathaniel, stood and began a lengthy description of the proper way to choose a path for a mortal. Terra knew these principles by heart. Her mind began to wander towards more pressing matters.
Terra had never been remarkable. She served without question. She performed her function well, and was devout and dedicated to her work. As a guide, Terra was ideal. Her experience encompassed thousands of years and tens of thousands of corporeal souls that she purposefully guided. Of course that really does not tell much about Terra as a person, but to put it bluntly she was not a person. At least, she was not one in the traditional sense that anyone would be comfortable regarding.
Terra loved her work. Guiding was the most purposeful, rewarding thing she could imagine doing. She could not possibly conceptualize loving anything more. Her eternity was certain, and she was content.
In retrospect, Terra should have seen that she was different in some ways. Her focus was so complete she was oblivious that not everybody’s undivided attention was directed solely on their transcendental purpose. Had she stepped outside of herself and looked around Terra would have seen the healthy relationships formed by those around her. She would have noticed that there were joys in The Tweens that she had never experienced. She would have seen the mortal bound entity’s capacity for love. Terra would have been impressed by how much she was missing. Granted, changes in perspective can help anyone learn more about themselves. The thing Terra would have noticed the most was that she was lonely. Of course, she had no idea that she was lonely, or even that she could be lonely. Terra interacted with others; even so, those interactions were part of her job. Her thoughts were a constant stream of others’ thoughts and feelings from the mortal world, ready for her to interpret and react to. There were thousands of souls who had feelings and were concerned about the other entities involved with their Earthly lives; however, none of them thought of Terra. None of them remembered her name, yet she spent her existence dedicated to theirs. Seldom did Terra let others get close enough to know her. There were a few individuals who cared for her; they made it a point to seek Terra out and to ensure her well-being. She did not see that either; but perhaps somewhere, deep down, she was aware of that sense of connection.
An eternity without change would sound monotonous to most people, but Terra had never seen a reason to change. To her, it was comforting. Terra knew her place in the grand scheme of the universe. She understood the role she was to play, and knew what her routine would entail. Terra could anticipate trouble with the mortal entities that she guided, and knew their needs and wants often before they knew themselves. Indeed, Terra was wholly content in the purpose of her existence. She saw no reason to change. Sameness felt like happiness to Terra, because she had no frame of reference. She would not learn about real joy until later in her existence.
In the human world, mortals are driven by strong emotions. They fall in and out of love and hate. They follow dim convictions based on their personal ideals. Although there is very little immediate physical effect from emotions, these fleeting states of mind set into motion changes and actions that ripple through the human world, leaving a legacy of beauty, or a horrible rift. Of course that was a temporal weakness.
From her perspective, Terra existed in an unchanging state during the first part of her eternity. She would have told anyone that she was timeless, productive and happy to be that way. In reality, the lack of change became the agonist of the larger transition. Terra was so comfortable in her rut and routine that she did not see the beautiful changes in her existence coming until they took her by surprise. This change was a wonderful surprise that would tear her world; her perception and her entire sense of identity apart, rip it to shreds, and show her a part of herself that she never knew existed.
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