by Kathleen Jacobson *
The old man entered the church at the beginning of the service. He sat in the back and listened to the evening prayer. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a ladder resting against the wall. People walked by it but didn't seem to notice it.
He saw that it led to the ceiling where there was a small hole. He became very curious. He felt so drawn to the ladder, so he went over to it. No one noticed him. He climbed up the ladder and through the hole. He was on the roof and he could see the stars. They were so beautiful. He could hear the prayers from the church below him and he knelt and began to pray too but when he prayed, he prayed to the stars.
As he prayed, he floated above the church, and he felt like a star floating in the heavens. He felt himself expanding and becoming everything. He prayed with his whole body and time didn't exist. He floated in pure bliss until he was pulled back to his small frail body on the church roof. The church bell rang, waking him from his reverie. He felt dazed and heavy in his body. He didn't know what happened.
He looked around and he could see the whole city from his rooftop perch. He noticed another building to his left with a person on the roof. That person seemed to be dancing in a hypnotic spinning with arms in the air, head to the sky. Then he heard a voice singing from behind him. He turned to see a woman on top of the synagogue singing the most beautiful song and her heart was pouring love into her voice and out into the universe. Then he saw a child on another roof hugging an almost transparent looking elderly couple. He wondered how such old people could have climbed up on that roof but then they faded away into nothing. He heard boy call out to his great, great grandparents...his ancestors. On another distant building, a woman was emerging out of a giant silver disk that rested on the rooftop. The man noticed a nearby building with a young child playing with some other children, but they had wings and would take turns pulling the little girl by her hand to lift her up into the sky and bring her back down as she giggled with delight.
So many rooftops and so many people singing, dancing, praying. Voices rang out in the night, blending but each with its own song and he saw many different Gods and Goddesses, angels and unfamiliar beings, each listening to a song sung just for them. The man felt connected to all of them but the way a star is connected to other stars in the night sky. After some time one by one, they each climbed down back into their churches, temples, mosques, homes and blended in with the people who were having their earthly experiences.
* Kathleen Reeves is a Unitarian Universalist and a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, a worldwide group dedicated to practicing, teaching, and developing Druidry as a valuable and inspiring spirituality. This informs her peace work as an expression of her spirituality. She is involved in interfaith peace work in her community. Ms. Reeves is a student of Japanese Tea Ceremony through the international Chado Urasenke Tankokai associations of the Urasenke school in Kyoto, Japan. She is also a published poet, amateur dancer and artist.