Chapter 19: Meeting the Lillies.
Kory had been experiencing a calm satisfaction from realizing that his efforts in teaching his students had resulted in wonderful success, and he wanted to reflect more on their growth. Many spirits had progressed in the past few sessions, and hearts had been changed and softened. He was teaching his students to live Christlike lives and to love others. Many of his students had been involved with painful, even abusive, experiences in their mortal lives. Kory had appreciated being enlightened about the different aspects of cultural differences. Many of his students lived before modern medicine and had succumbed to death by illness and neglect or physical harm. Most of his students in this last session had died as children. With his new perspective, he was able to see that the death of a child in certain circumstances was a blessing to that individual. An abused child could escape from the suffering and come to the spirit world to learn and progress. Kory felt the power of his message change the hearts of these abused children, and they were finally able to forgive those who had not shown them the love that they now enjoyed. Freed from the chains of hatred and revenge consuming their thoughts, the children were now able to start down the path of self-improvement.
Kory was educated firsthand about how children, women, and those of lower-class status from previous times in history were treated so poorly. Circumstances had not allowed his students to be able to progress on Earth to the extent that they needed. It is always better to remain in mortality to accomplish most of the character development, as it is much easier with the mortal body and spirit body united. It had taken some of his students many earthly years to learn even the basics of reading and writing. But the effort was well worth it, as their new skills gave them the opportunity to take advantage of the great libraries in the spirit world and to further their education and progression. Kory reflected on his own experience in mortality and was humbled and grateful that he lived in a time and place where children were treated well and protected. He loved his students, and watching them blossom with their potential power gave him deep satisfaction. Understanding perspective for their lives played a major role in their attitudes.
Kory strolled to one of the splendid parks where he could have some quiet time for reflection. He chose a huge oak tree to plop down under. The tree’s branches filled the sky above with a protective arch like an umbrella, and its leaves were lush and of many different colors: orange, purple, blue, and a deep forest green. He stretched out his long legs in the cool grass, closed his eyes, and sighed contentedly.
“Is everything okay with you?” a soft voice inquired.
Kory opened one eye to see who belonged to the gentle voice. “Hello,” he said.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I am so sorry. I have been asked to come find you.” The voice belonged to a beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed lady with a gracious smile. She was standing next to the tree, gazing down at Kory sprawled out on the soft, green grass.
“Oh, you’re not bothering me,” Kory said, sitting up. “I was just lying here, reflecting on things.”
“I like to do that, too,” the woman said. “Have you been here long?”
“Not too long,” Kory replied.
“You seem young to me,” she stated. “You were not very old when you passed, were you?”
“Why do you ask?” Kory asked in surprise.
“Oh, I can usually tell if someone had been around on Earth as long as I had.” She giggled. “I was older than dirt! Oh, by the way, I am so sorry, please excuse my manners. My name is Lillie.” She extended her hand.
“Hello Lillie, it is a pleasure to meet you,” Kory said, jumping up and grasping her hand. “I am quite curious now. I was just a teenage boy, so curiosity was one of my strong points.” Kory winked. “Just how old is dirt?”
“Well this dirt was eighty-eight years old!” Lillie grinned. “I had a wonderful time on Earth, a good life, a good loooong life. I was able to see many things and help a lot of people. Many of my family are here, so it is wonderful—one big family reunion. It feels like Christmas every day. I just love it. Funny thing, though…” She paused, then continued. “Some of my relatives are still having a hard time and cannot fully understand my death. It would seem that the death of an old lady would not be a big deal. But alas, my death was quite a tragic event.”
“Oh, is that so?” Kory asked.
“Yes, it was not my scheduled time to come. I was met with an untimely demise. You see, I was mugged and beaten on my way home from the grocery store one evening.”
Kory looked sadly at Lillie.
Her face brightened. “Do not be concerned, young man. We have to see things through God’s eyes. It was tragic, I agree. If I were to dwell on the actual facts, they would seem unbearable. I should have lived on Earth a few more years, but that young man who took my life exercised his agency, and my path ended. Old, church-attending, volunteer-work-doing grandma meets horrible death!” Lillie stated boldly, as if she were reading a newspaper headline. “They don’t fully understand, do they?” she asked pensively, lost in her own thoughts.
Kory studied this elegant spirit, Lillie. “Who do you mean by ‘they,’ if I might ask?”
“I mean those who are still alive on Earth. They do not see past the event sometimes. I mean, I know it sounds unfair, even cruel. But you can’t get caught up in the gory details. It is so irrelevant. I am here, and I am fine—better than fine. I am stupendous!” Lillie’s eyes sparkled. “I guess I should understand. I felt that way, too. I did not have an easy death. I was in a lot of pain, and I was in the hospital in a coma for a very long time. I ask you, what is the purpose of that? I used to wonder myself.”
“What have you learned about the reason for suffering the way that you did?” Kory asked.
“Suffering, whether physical or mental, teaches us empathy. We learn from experience. If we have experienced trials and adversity, even physical pain, it is temporary, but it has a great purpose. It teaches us and softens our hearts so we understand how to help others.” Lillie frowned in concentration. “Here, let me explain it this way. We would like to show you something. It will greatly help you in your current teaching assignment. A demonstration, if you will. Principle put into practice.” Lillie walked toward the path that led back to the city square. “Come with me,” she said over her shoulder. “I’d like you to meet someone.”
His urge for quiet time and reflection gone, Kory followed Lillie down the path. As they neared the city square, a young woman came to meet them. She was radiant, her countenance almost glowing. Her smile was breathtaking.
Lillie smiled back at the woman. “Her name is Lillie, too!” she said to Kory. “We have become very close friends. Lillie and I came into the world of spirits about the same time, but under very different circumstances.”
Kory regarded the new Lillie. There was something about her. A great light, even brighter than his own or the other Lillie’s, surrounded her. She looked about the same age as the first Lillie, but somehow appeared younger. The two Lillies favored each other in physical characteristics. Both had blond hair and deep blue eyes.
“Hello, Lillie,” the first Lillie said. “I want you to meet a new friend. This is Kory.”
“It’s good to meet you, Lillie.” Kory turned to the first Lillie and said, “You know, this could be very confusing. I will have to come up with a way to address you without confusing you two—and me too!” Kory chuckled.
“I have a great solution,” the first Lillie proposed. “You can call her Little Lillie. You see, this Lillie was very young when she died, only a few hours old.”
Kory’s eyes grew big. “I am so sorry! That is very sad, indeed.”
“It is nice to meet you, Kory,” Little Lillie said, “but do not be sad. It is not sad at all. I have come to realize that this is the way that many people feel on Earth. They think that it is tragic that I will not be able to grow up and live my life into adulthood. They do not understand completely. I am not a baby here. I am an adult spirit and, as Heavenly Father told me when I came, too precious to be left in the harshness of the mortal world. That’s why He brought me to Him. I really only needed to get my body. I was able to accomplish a lot before my time on Earth, so I did not need to stay very long. Plus, I have had the wonderful privilege of living with God the Father even now. Only those who die before the age of eight have that privilege. I live in a wonderful place, even more beautiful and wondrous than it is here, if you can imagine.”
“I did not think that there could be any place as wonderful as this place. But I do know that I want to be able to live with the Father someday. Are there many children there?” asked Kory.
“Yes, heaven is filled with them.” Little Lillie smiled. “If you could see them, you would understand. Haven’t you noticed that there are no babies or small children here? The children who died as infants and live with the Father are adults also, although sometimes they can still appear as children or infants in a visit or a dream to help someone identify them.” She frowned. “I wish people on Earth could see that. Sometimes there might be a group of children observed by a visiting or newly arriving spirit, but that is for their benefit only. It does seem so hard to understand why babies die. It doesn’t make sense in the mortal way of thinking. In the spirit world, we do not need to grow physically. We need only to grow spiritually. We develop and learn. As you have discovered for yourself, it is a place of many degrees of development. It is a place of learning and perfection. As a baby or small child on Earth, we seem undeveloped. As those babies die and come to this realm, we see that they are the most developed of God’s children in their very character. It helps us understand a little better and soothes the sting of death and terrible sadness associated with the death of babies. We even have the privilege to come here to this sphere to help teach spirits like you, Kory, and Lillie here, and some ways to help those in need down on Earth. I am aware of the great work you have been doing lately.”
Little Lillie smiled gently at Kory. “You have been such a blessing to those who are in your class. That is why I am here today. I would like to show you firsthand the principle you have been teaching put into practice. I have volunteered to go into mortality for a special mission. I am going to escort a little one home with me. We also need to give much needed comfort to someone confused and struggling with the reason for our own beloved Lillie’s death. Would you like to come with me?”
“I would love to come,” Kory said.
“I am coming too,” the first Lillie added.
“Absolutely, Lillie, I was hoping for your company. I could use some help with this one. There have been many angels from heaven assigned to this particular case. It is sad to see the circumstances. If those on Earth only had eyes to see!” Little Lillie sighed. “This one is not much fun, I am afraid. Abuse is involved. It is so sad, almost like slapping kittens!” she added vehemently.
“Slapping kittens? That is a horrible thought!” Replaying that visual in his mind made Kory shudder.
A great calm fell over the three as they made their way to the veil that would allow them to go down to their assignment.
“Good, I feel a strong presence of the Holy Spirit. He is here to accompany us and direct us in the proper ways to help those we are assigned to help. So we are all ready to go,” Little Lillie said.
The three angels fell from the light and into the world.
Kory, Lillie, and Little Lillie found themselves standing on the sidewalk at the corner of a large apartment building. It was midday, and the street was deserted. A brisk wind was blowing, and colorful autumn leaves skipped down the street. The wind did not affect the three beings of light. They shone brightly, even brighter than the brilliant afternoon sun.
“This is it,” Little Lillie said. “This is the location of your old apartment, Lillie.”
“Are we here to help you in some way?” Kory asked Lillie.
“No. As you can see for yourself, I am fine.” She paused. “No, I am better than fine!” she added with a twinkle in her eyes. “But there is a young girl here who is not fine. Since my passing, she has been having a terrible time. She is only twelve years old and is having serious doubts to the reason God would let this happen to me. She is in great need of comfort. That is our mission. We are to help comfort her,” Lillie explained.
“Yes, we are actually on a twofold mission,” Little Lillie interjected. “You see, Kory, the other aspect of our mission is to help prepare a young mother and child for the child’s death. Then we are to escort that child to heaven.”
Kory gazed at the two ladies. Fear and trepidation caused his heart to race. Did he really want to see this? He needed to be able to learn, but it was so frightening. As Kory felt the anxiety increase, a warmth and light began to spread through his body, starting with his heart and flowing through each limb to the tips of his fingers. His mind became crystal clear and he recognized the help of the Holy Spirit attending them. He could feel the great love that was felt for these individuals that they were suppose to assist. His purpose was clear, and the fear fled. He turned to the dear ladies and asked, “What do we need to do to get started?”
The three entered the apartment building and made their way down the hall. They stopped in front of apartment number 203. They entered the apartment through the closed door by just walking through it with no effort at all. They stopped in the living room area. The apartment was a humble dwelling. A worn couch was covered by a brightly colored handmade quilt. Two old end tables, topped with outdated lamps, flanked the couch. A coffee table sat in front of the couch, decorated with a few inexpensive souvenir trinkets that had been collected over the years. A soft, heartbreaking cry sounded behind the three angels. Turning around, Kory and the two Lillies saw a young girl. She was curled up in a chair behind them, sobbing softly. She was holding a small teddy bear and an old worn Bible. She was alone in the room and was praying through her sobs.
“Please, God, help me to understand your purpose. I desperately miss my friend, Miss Lillie. She was such a good person. Why did you have to take her? I don’t understand why she had to die from the hands of that bad man. He is in the paper today. He gets to live, even if it is in jail, while poor, sweet Lillie has to lie in the cold, dark ground!”
Lillie ran to the little girl and wrapped herself around her. “Oh, my sweet, sweet little Meagan,” Lillie cried. “It’s okay, Meagan, I am here, and I am fine.”
A brilliant light appeared above the praying girl. Kory could see her prayer, literally. It was a powerful, beautiful light beamed straight to heaven. The significance of that moment was not lost on Kory. “We were sent here to help her even before she uttered her prayer,” he said, with wonder in his voice.
“Yes,” answered Little Lillie. “Our Heavenly Father is aware of all his children and has comfort given to them even before asked. Now you see why I wanted Lillie to come. She can comfort the child better than anyone.”
Kory and Little Lillie watched in silence as Lillie held Meagan, while gently stroking her hair and humming a soothing tune. After a few minutes, the sobs slowed down, and Meagan fell into a gentle sleep. Lillie bent over and kissed Meagan gently on her head. A mist floated up into the air in the center of the room. It stopped and formed a screen on which images began to appear. The three angels watched as the young girl’s dream played on the misty screen. The dream started with disjointed memories of Lillie and Meagan, moments they had spent together while Lillie was still on the Earth. Happiness and love were very present in the dream images, but slowly, darkness started to appear. The images changed from happy ones to memories of Lillie in the hospital after her mugging. Meagan’s breathing started to quicken. Lillie was immediately at her side, stroking her hair and holding her close.
The images changed, and Kory could tell they were now viewing the events through the mugger’s eyes. Lillie watched, riveted to the spot, a look of horror on her face. Her face relaxed, though, and she began to smile as images of her, radiant and happy, were shown. Meagan smiled in her sleep, comforted.
The images changed again, now showing future events. The images that appeared were the thoughts and deeds of the young man who had caused Lillie’s death—a glimpse of his life in review. The angels realized that no matter what he said and did on this Earth, he could not hide from himself. Every deed and thought was recorded within himself, and these were now being played out in their entirety. There was no judgment by others—the only judgment that was present was coming from within the young man himself. Another element was also becoming apparent. The feelings of those affected by his actions were also being shown, even the current situation, where poor little Meagan’s heart was breaking.
The realization of this profound concept flowed into Kory’s mind and heart. His students were never left alone in their trials. Angels draped their arms around the victims, comforting them. Their abusers would know personally the pain that they caused their victims. They would also experience the same pain.
Meagan’s breathing calmed, and she stirred. She slowly opened her eyes. Smiling, she looked up at the ceiling. “Thank you, God,” she said. “I know that Lillie is with you and happy. I felt her happiness. I felt her. I know that she will be with me when I need her.”
Lillie smiled, and tears rolled down her cheeks. She looked at Little Lillie and Kory and nodded. It was finished. Time for the next visit.
The three heavenly angels quickly found themselves outside the apartment building. Little Lillie pointed in the direction of their next assignment, and they headed off into the afternoon sun, soaring high over the countryside. Kory felt the apprehension return as he thought about this new assignment. He remembered Little Lillie telling him that she was escorting a baby home. He did not feel happy about being present when a baby died. He trusted that the Spirit would comfort and guide him again in this important mission.
They arrived at the doorstep of a typical suburban home. A baby’s cry penetrated the air. With anxious looks on their faces, they quickly entered the house. The home had appeared so normal from the outside, but the inside told a different story. The home was in complete disarray. Piles of clothing filled the couch to overflowing, and dirty dishes littered the coffee table. Magazines and mail lay in piles on the floor, unopened. A young mother holding a crying infant paced back and forth, desperately trying to quiet it. She looked like she had not slept in many days.
“She is unaware that her little boy is crying because he has a broken arm,” Little Lillie explained. “The girl’s boyfriend hurt the baby a few days ago in a drunken rage. He has been at the bar drinking today and is on his way home right now. That is why we are here.”
Just then, a young man stumbled through the door. He immediately began to yell at the young girl with the baby, his words slurring and hateful.
“Shut that baby up!” he demanded.
“I am trying to!” the young girl cried. “He has been crying all day! I think something is wrong with him.”
“I will shut him up then!” the man yelled, and he grabbed the baby from the young girl’s arms. He stomped over to a portable crib and threw the baby into it.
A flash of light shot past Kory. It was Little Lillie, who had in the blink of an eye reached the baby and taken its hand. In the next second, she was also holding the hand of a beautiful young man. Time seemed to stand still. Little Lillie turned to the young spirit standing with her. “You do not need to be here for this.” The sickening thud of the baby’s head hitting the living room wall through the mesh side of the portable crib reverberated through the air. Then there was silence.
Little Lillie looked at the young man who had been housed in the baby’s body. “It is finished. You can come with me now.”
The male spirit looked sadly at his young mother, then back at Little Lillie, and nodded. The angels headed out of the house as the young woman’s screams pierced the air.
As he passed over the house, Kory looked down and saw large angels dressed in battle armor enter the home, following spirits not of light but of darkness. A piercing and evil laugh of delight shrieked from the dark spirits.
Lillie touched Kory’s shoulder. “The young mother and the young man will be watched over and assisted by other angels of light that are used to this nature of work. They have been trained and given authority to fight the spirits of darkness. The young mother and the drunken young man will never be left alone to fight the forces of the Evil One alone. By causing the baby’s death, I am afraid that the young man has called the forces of hell to this place today. He has courted those dark spirits over time with his behavior. He will have a heavy price to pay. It might take him until the end of the millennium to pay the cost. He will literally live through an internal hell to pay the price. But he can eventually receive the peace he will desperately desire,” Lillie explained.
Kory looked back over his shoulder at the house in the distance. He wondered how someone could become so uncaring. He worried about the young mother. Stress tightened in his chest. He was so used to peace and happiness that this new feeling was an unwelcome visitor. Just as before, his anxiety started to alleviate, and he felt the wonderful warmth pour into his veins, warming his soul. His mind cleared again, and he began to feel the promptings of the Spirit speak to his heart and mind. He saw a vision from the future unfold as he saw the young mother, dressed in glowing robes, run and embrace her baby boy. He watched Little Lillie and the young man—the baby boy they had come to escort—ascend a beautiful staircase toward an even brighter light.