I was home for a month after my accident, and after three months in the hospital. This dream was as real as if I were to talk to you in person, each of us gabbing away, laughing. I talk about in the story, but I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I took Jesus up on his offer. Would I have died? I can’t say.
Floating With Jesus
By Dennis Mitton
Bathed in a bragging light that showed off white mountain tops piercing through their cloud cover, looking like elbows in bed, we floated, Jesus and me. Laying back in our clouds, with hands clasped behind our heads, we drowned in the beauty. The ocean was blue and clear beneath us, the land was distant. We didn’t talk but shared a kind of silent satisfaction. A deep breath.
Jesus, looking like the long-haired Scandinavian god pinned above my Grandmother’s bed, reached into the cloud and pulled out a leg. It was new and crisp, muscular, and clean of any hint of blood or tissue.
“Here,” He said, holding it out to me. I took in wonder, and stroked it like a cat’s back. It was stiff. “My gosh,” I said, “this thing is beautiful. I mean…it’s gorgeous.” I was in a bicycle racing accident a year earlier and spent three months in the hospital with a brain injury. For the first two weeks, I needed a breathing tube and was comatose for a month. I learned to walk again, but doctors strongly urged no more racing or riding, but, I wondered, with this new leg? Could I?
“You can have it,” He said, waving His hand, nonplussed. “I have arms and more legs for you, too, if you want them.” He smiled again, knowingly. “You can be better than new with these. Faster.” The six-million-dollar-man, I thought.
I crossed my arms and gave Him that look. “Are you kidding me? I can have this? I can have new arms and legs? Man,” I said, “I am all in.”
He raised His hand to slow me down. “There’s something I need to tell you. Something you should know.”
He put His hand to his chin. “You have to die first.”
Maybe I grimaced, but he went on, a little too giddy. “Really, it’s no big deal. For you, it’s a drop of water. I mean, it’s eternity. You’ll see your family again, and it will be like you blinked.” He paused. “Of course, they’ll have to die. And for ten or forty years they’ll have to live with their Dad and husband dying, but in eternity they’ll see that it was nothing.”
I didn’t think my death would be ‘nothing’ to my family and looked at the leg and then at Jesus. “Man,” I said, and shook my head. “Did you see them when I was in the hospital? They literally gave up their lives for me – you did too! – but, man, the girls were fantastic. They made everyone there feel better. And Mal? I mean, she was the husband and the wife, she paid the bills, she took care of me…” I looked up at Jesus. “She made every decision. Even now, she does everything for me.”
I blew out a breath. “I’m sorry, Jesus, but I can’t trade my wholeness for their misery. It doesn’t matter how long. You know that a nurse at the hospital told me on the night before I left that when she sees my wife, she thinks ‘I ain’t never seen love like that before,’ and I didn’t argue. “Love like that should be loved back.”
I don’t know what I expected. This was the God of Thunder, after all, who whipped the money changers and cleaned out the Temple, but he just smiled, laying back in His cloud.
“It’s no problem, Dennis. Really. It’s your decision.”
Somewhere between awake and dream, I sat up that morning, in bed, with Jesus still smiling at me. I shot a look to where my wife would lay, and she was there. I saw her lying there and touched her back. “I’m still alive,” I thought. I couldn’t help but wonder, as I lay there with my hand on my wife’s back if I would have died if I said ’Yes’ to Jesus. Awake, I wondered, too, if it was a test, a dream, or the result of food gone bad. I still wonder.