After fifty years of marriage, George Willikers thought he had adapted to all his wife’s idiosyncrasies. They had survived multiple health crises. She had experienced a breast health scare and his ticker had a fickle rhythm requiring a pacemaker. They had worked together as a team raising their children and providing for the family. Now the children were raising their own families and George and Agnes Willikers were thoroughly empty-nesters. Without the continuing stress of familial duties, Agnes and George had more time together—perhaps they had too much time. Small habits, habits that had gone unnoticed for decades, now seemed overly petty and annoying.
For example, Agnes insisted on working two crossword newspaper puzzles before arising in the morning. George, usually an early riser, had always brought the morning papers in and Agnes would work the puzzles before any other morning duties could be attended to. She would always leave two or three clues for George to complete. He would wait for Agnes to say, “George, honey, I’m stuck on these last blanks. Be a dear and finish this off for me.” George had learned over the years that this was simply to massage his fragile ego.
But the simple and recurring statement that bother George the most was a very innocent statement in itself that when repeated hundreds of times a day became more than annoying. Agnes would state any time George navigated about their home, “Turn the light out!” Sometimes this would be modified by the added phrase of, “Do you like paying the
power bill?” Or, do you think we’re made of money? Or perhaps, “The sun is up, it’s not dark.
Why do you need lights?
George’s responses that he was returning to the dark room momentarily, or he was having difficulties seeing in twilight went unheeded and only made Agnes’ protestations multiply.
George was not without flaws. He was not miserly, but had an inflated sense of his abilities to do home repairs. “I can fix the toaster. I can fix the vacuum cleaner. I can do anything a plumber can do and do it a lot cheaper.” Agnes had long ago stopped arguing with George over his inflated opinion of his home-maintenance abilities, and did not even complain when the bills arrived from the service men who made the needed repairs and corrected George’s feeble attempts at home maintenance.
Case in point: One frosty morning George and Agnes awoke to a cold house. George checked the circuit breaker. It was off, and would not reset. He rechecked the power and noted that the furnace wasn’t getting a power feed. Tracing the electrical feed from the breaker box he noted a junction box that appeared scorched. He again threw the circuit breaker and uncovered the junction box and noted a burned wire. He thought that he could reconnect the wire and solve the problem. In the morning’s natural light, he was having problems seeing the connections so the utility and basement lights were lit. George made the connections and went to the breaker box to resume the electrical supply. As he breaker toggle was pushed, George heard a loud POP from the newly repaired junction box. At the same moment he heard Agnes from just outside the room. “George, what are you doing with all these lights on at nine o’clock
in the morning? You’ll throw us into bankruptcy with these electric bills.” As she said this and as George’s attention was distracted, he reached over to the junction box. At that moment, Agnes cut the lights out, throwing the furnace room into relative darkness. George touched a live wire and his pacemaker revolted.
When George awoke, he was standing in a long line. He guessed he had been there for some time since he couldn’t see the front and the back of the que was also endless. There was an attendant close by and George motioned for his attention. He asked, “Where am I?” The attendant didn’t seem to think the question was out of place. “You’re in the presence of the Great I Am, Mr. Willikers.”
“You mean I’m…”
“Deceased, dead, having assumed room temperature, no longer part of the earthly realm, in short George, you’ve passed.”
George knew he should have felt faint, overcome with emotion or something, but instead he felt suddenly without burdens. “Am I here for judgment?”
“Judgment is such an earthly word. Here we tend to think of it as a simple sorting process. You know. To put it in terms of your Bible, this is where we separate the wheat from the chaff, or the lambs from the lions.”
George rechecked his status in the que and to his surprise realized that he was almost at the head of the line. And then he was there. “Are you…”
“I have been called many things by many people, But I prefer ‘I Am’ for I am now, always and everywhere and forever. And you are George Willikers. That would make you G. Willikers.” With that statement I AM seemed to have a bit of humor in his other-worldly voice. “Now, George, you’re here because of an electrical accident. A foreseeable accident. Didn’t your wife, Agnes, have something to do with this?
“George sensed that he was expected to answer this. “Yes, Agnes was there.”
“And she reduced your vision to such a level that you touched an active wire”
“I should have been more careful.”
“So, it was not her fault?”
“I should have waited for our furnace man to come. I shouldn’t have tried to save the money.”
“How do you think Agnes feels?”
“I hope she doesn’t feel guilty. I knew how she felt about lights.”
“Would you tell Agnes that now?”
“I’d give anything if I could tell her that and how petty our complaints were all those many years.”
“Out of the mists of unknown time Agnes appeared. George knew the meaning of her
appearance. “Agnes, are you—are you…?”
I Am spoke. “George, time is an earthly concept. Here time is more fluid. Agnes lived on for years after you. She grieved daily, and regrets that what she thought of as a loving connection you perceived as a recurrent shrill petty complaint.
George’s voice trembled as he next spoke, “We wasted so much. I hope Agnes still feels our love was eternal; we thought it was, but I guess we were so overcome by living, that we forgot about loving. If we had a chance to change our lives, I’d do it in a minute.”
George looked at Agnes and could see that she was thinking the same thing.
I Am again spoke, “I told you that time here is more fluid than earthly moments. I’m touched by your sincere devotion. I’ll see you back here—sometime in the future.
George awoke to the sound of monitors. The room was all white and there was an angel by the bed holding his hand. The angel was Agnes.
He eventually told Agnes of his after-death experience, and she responded that she had a similar dream or experience. It seemed like a dream, but it was so real she had doubts as to what it was. Like George, she had problems separating dream from reality. Following George’s recovery, he felt that he had not only recovered his physical health, but his spiritual health was also revived. And above all else, he and Agnes were never apart, never quarreling, never complaining of each other’s faults and enjoying their time until the Great I Am called them back.