Cara stood in front of her grandmother's grave staring at the gray marble stone that bore her name.
Aimee Elizabeth Patterson
August 14, 1929 - November 3, 2005
A cold front had blown in the day before and the winter wind was frigid and stinging against Cara's face. She reached her gloved hands up to pull the red and white cap down over her ears and remembered how Grammy had knit that little cap for her just last month. She felt the sharp pain of grief stab at her heart as she fought back the tears. In the end, they won and made victorious hot treks down her frozen cheeks.
She could not make her grandmother come back to her by standing there in the freezing wind, staring at the mound of dirt, still covered in shrivelling funeral wreaths. So she turned and walked back to her car.
Once there, she sat behind the steering wheel with the motor running, warming herself...thinking.
Her gram was such a beautiful person. She wondered how she would be able to live without her.
The warm air from the car's heater felt good blowing against her ankles, and she relaxed a bit, leaning her head back. She continued to think of her grandmother. How she had taken Cara in when she was only six years old. Twenty-five years ago, it was.
Cara's parents had been killed in a car crash. At the funeral, someone told her that Jesus had "taken them home to be with Him"... and she had never cared much about God since.
Grammy had taken her to church while she was growing up, and told her how to ask Jesus to come into her heart many times. But Cara always declined.
"Just don't wait too long, Caroline." Gram had told her. "Everyone has an appointed time to go to heaven and we don't know when that is. Dear, you must ask Jesus for forgiveness of your sins if you are to get into heaven's gates. Jesus said,' I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.' "
That was the last thing that Cara remembered thinking until she woke up and found herself standing in front of those gates. They were the most beautiful things she had ever seen. There was a light emanating from beyond them that was brighter than sunlight on snow. She had never seen anything like it. It seemed to sparkle and dance as if alive. And the music. Oh, the music. It was as if she were hearing it in her heart instead of her ears. It seemed to permeate her whole being and feed her very soul with a joy she had never imagined.
She stood before the gates and waited for them to open and remembered her grandmother's words.
"Jesus said, ' I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.' "
Cara knew she had not accepted the truth and suddenly felt a piercing fear that she had never felt before. She knew that those gates were not going to open for her. And she knew that her parents and her beloved grandmother were beyond them.
"Jesus!", she cried out. "I believe in You...please FORGIVE ME!"
And then she felt as if she were falling from a great height through deep blackness...until she heard the voices and felt the pain in her head and cold air on her face.
Red lights were flashing from a nearby ambulance and a voice squawked from a policeman's radio and she was aware of paramedics giving her oxygen and asking her questions.
"You're a fortunate woman, Miss", the officer said as she was being placed into the waiting ambulance. "It appears you fell asleep with the motor running and took in quite a lot of carbon monoxide. It's a wonder you're still with us."
Cara closed her eyes as she lay on the gurney and remembered her last words at heavens gates...
"Jesus, I believe in You...please forgive me."
She spoke them again, softly, and with assurance, knowing that on a distant day in her future she would stand before that gate once more.
Bible reference: NAS John 14:6
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