A Glimpse of Albion
Robert N. Seitz
April 20, 1989

    There was the closing moment, too brief for fright, as he realized that the other car was going to hit him head-on. Then there was the crash. And then he was floating above his mangled body and the wreckage of his ruined Sentra. He heard the CR-U-UMP! of the crash dying away, followed by an instant of disorientation as he recognized himself in the wreckage, seeing himself for the first time as others always had.
    He heard a Carolina wren warble off to his left. Between puffy, white clouds, a yellow sun tried vainly to warm the chilly earth. The wind rustled the roadside grass. Otherwise, it was utterly quiet. "This is like one of those life-after-life experiences you read about," he thought to himself. He tried to remember what came after the out-of-body experience, but couldn't.
    Now the blonde driver of the other car was getting out of her Accord. Its whole front end had collapsed but she didn't seem to have so much as a scratch. She appeared to be in shock.
    He 'looked' back at himself in the Sentra, stunned by what he saw. "I must be dead," he thought. "I couldn't be alive with my head crumpled that way." What would happen when he didn't show up for his job interview in Youngstown? And he had paid $10 for an impressive haircut. Weird, what you think about at a time like this.
    By now, the other driver, her face as pale as Death, had seen the blood gushing from his crushed skull. She didn't seem to be able to collect herself sufficiently to know what to do. He tried to tell her; then realized that undoubtedly, she couldn't see or hear him. She looked around agitatedly to see a white house trailer about a block behind her car. She started down the country road, going for help, while he remained floating where he was. He felt quite lonely then...cut-off from humankind. "What happens now?" he thought. "Do I rush through a tunnel? Do my grandparents come to meet me? I can't be put back in my body with my head crushed this way. What happens when it gets dark? Will I get cold?" Suddenly, he was afraid of the unknown.
    Over at the side, a faint glow caught his attention. It brightened rapidly until it became a freshet, a fountain, a cascade of hyaline light, a light too bright to be seen, a light too bright to be comprehended...for Come Was the Light of the World. Bathed in unconditional love now, he began to feel the sweetest sense of peace he had ever known. Then he re-connected with The Elect, and once again, it all came back; once again, he relived the "a-ha!" moment, as he had so many times before, his whole recent life before him. In the n-dimensional space-times of which he was now aware, he/they simultaneously experienced the joys he had bestowed upon others, and the sorrows and disappointments he had inflicted upon others...for at this moment-outside-time, he was those others. He could trace each of his mortal choices through the myriad alternities of the omniverse that his choices had implied, and could see how his world-line intertwined with those of all the others. And even as he reviewed his life history, he/they realized that he (would be condemned/would condemn himself) to live again. He had glorified God, he had attended church and prayer meetings, he had tithed and sometimes, he had even been kind to others part of the day on Sundays. And of course, all but the latter was irrelevant. There were too many times when he had let Ambition step on people at work, had gotten even with people, had enjoyed seeing an enemy get their comeuppance, or had treated other people like things. Once again, he had been consumed with narrow self-interest. Who wants to share Eternity with someone like that? Why can't people see that they won't be able to get along with each other in Heaven until they can get along with each other on Earth? "Daily, with souls that cringe and plot, we Sinai's climb and know it not." Why couldn't he seeem to get the idea? Whatever. He'd have to keep trying until he got it right.
    He was already dreading what was coming next...aching birth, drooling infancy, sour-mouthed colic, the delights, terrors, and sufferings of childhood. Then the Sierras and Death Valleys of adolescence, with its green-eyed jealousies, rivalries, rejections, and ridicule. He would become an adult again, tired all the time, facing a grinding round of sick kids and ball games. He would endure the unavoidable, intolerable conflicts, frustrations, and insecurities of a job, and the God-and-Mammon tussle of job-vs-family. Once his vitality had been extracted, he could retire, to learn that, for an old man, full-time fun isn't fun. Finally, the whole experience could well be crowned with the unbearable torture of a slow death. Through it all, there would never more than racing moments of unalloyed satisfaction, and always, always, always, the never-to-be-fulfilled hope that over the next hill, things would be better. But there was no help for it. Once again, he/they must consign himself to Purgatory/Hell. Once again, he must live on Earth.