IN GOD'S SPLENDID DINING ROOM story
by Richard L. Provencher
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This evening, old friends came together, as ocean waves slapping at the shore, relentless in the dust of time. In twos and threes, they arrived, some wearing colorful burkas, others with brand name suits, even the flair of a dress from the finest cloth in Paris. Adults and children gathered in tumultuous excitement, dressed in the attire they were clothed in when their lives ended on earth.
Tonight’s celebration came about at the invitation of the Master, an occasion of remembrance, on the anniversary of their passing, years before. Each knew its importance, how it once was, how their friendships began. And yes, to express thanks how bodies were fully restored as they were brought together. And they do remember…
During the evening of September 11, 2001 above New York City, there is laughter and joyous times. This morning’s catastrophe in the Twin Towers is completely forgotten.
Each victim is a participant in a blessed victory over death.
Several thousand people are chatting and moving about. In their excitement, there is singing, laughter, much hugging, even consoling one another. A feeling of warmth and friendship helps provide a breath of new life. Everyone is prepared for a grand dinner of celebration over death.
A feast of blessings covers the huge, well-prepared table for those wishing to indulge. The long table seems to go on forever. The finest linens, cutlery and flowers adorn each setting. In addition to turkey, lamb, salmon, ham, dressings, salads, a bewildering array of other food treats crowd for attention. There is also a pudding of Righteousness for all.
Fruits of the Spirit, Tongues of Peace with Turnips of Joy, excite anxious tummies. Every item on the beautiful mahogany table sits on glistening gold-rimmed bowls made by the greatest and finest Potter of them all.
In the lineup waiting his turn to seat himself, is Harry, bald and badly burned. Once he had a shock of hair, thick as a wheat field. Now he chuckles about his new condition.
Marie patiently waits her turn and pirouettes around the floor. She can still do a perfect circle, even though she has lost a leg. Before those tragic events, her slim legs were the envy of bachelors in the neighborhood, vying for her attention. But here, in this gracious space, no one seems to notice her missing limb.
Then Janet smiles in her own memories. She looks with loving eyes at children of all ages scrambling for a place at the table. They are from every race and color, each with limbs maimed on young bodies. Yet, their excitement can barely be contained. Many met as visitors before the Twin Towers dissolved into dust.
As everyone seats themselves an assembly of voices intermingle like magnified colors in a rainbow. Between mouthfuls of angel-prepared food, all are anxious to take turns sharing a story of personal triumph. In the midst of memory there remains a smile, an upraised eyebrow. Within the midst of this special company, it is remarkable there is an absence of tears.
“I remember just before the first plane hit,” Bill says. “I was lifting a cup of my favorite coffee to my lips, then … BANG!”
“And not long after, the first of both towers fell,” another remarked.
“You should have seen me,” Annie interrupted with a hearty laugh. “People were pounding on my bathroom door. In a minute, I kept saying. How was I to know the whole place was going to fall down?”
“Daddy hugged me really tight, then kissed me on my forehead,” a little boy piped up. “He never did that before. Then we went flying out the window, like two Bald Eagles. It was neat.”
A melee of voices spoke of challenges trying to escape the burning World Trade Center. None of those present in God’s Splendid Dining Room made it to safety. And now, here they were all together.
None of the speakers spoke for very long. Words grew from shallow streams into river’s of sharing. Yes, there was a vacancy in their hearts for husbands, wives and children left behind. However, they knew for time unending everyone was part of a new beginning, with a new family. Also knowing one day loved ones would join them.
In this Great Room, tales of special circumstances came steadily from the mouths of dark and light skinned casualties. These individuals represented many faiths, and cultures, in shapes of all sizes.
“We come from more than 100 countries around the globe,” someone whispered.
Not so many hours ago, all sitting at this table were burned and broken in their bodies, but not in spirit at this moment. Before the end of this joyous celebration, miracles would descend as gifts from the Creator of all. All sitting together in harmony would have each precious part of themselves reclaimed. Right down to the mole on Phil’s cheek.
Yes, September 11, was a day of agony for so many. Earlier they sat side by side as soon-to-be plane victims. Many others occupied space in the World Trade Center. So many firemen and policemen and health authorities were there too.
As tragedy struck, phone calls brought words of anguish as well as loving messages, from one to another. Hurried steps joined with cries of alarm and every inch of human flesh became part of the scenario.
The suddenness of a roaring fire and waves of smoke engulfed them all. When the Twin Towers fell, so many dreams were lost. And futures terminated in one rushing scream, as past troubles were erased in one brief moment.
Their sumptuous meal fully ended, everyone stands up and reaches out. Hands clasp firmly, completing the circle of a caring family. Not bound by flesh, but a birthright of passion and shared experiences.
Heads bow, prayers are said for dear ones left behind. Yes, in this Splendid Dining Room, there is time for an abundance of Love. And words from thousands of voices are filled with Forgiveness, now part of their heritage.
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© Richard L. Provencher 2008
FOOTPRINTS, a close family novel about a father’s search for a son he never met can now be ordered from SynergEbooks. Richard & Esther Provencher are also co-authors of two other novels soon to be published at: www.synergebooks.com
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