My grandparents’ 1920 farmhouse was graced with solid oak floors and woodwork, and there were “registers,” adjustable grates in the floors that made it possible to regulate the flow of warm air that passed through ducts from the furnace in the basement to each of the upstairs rooms. My cousin and I had great fun talking to each other through the registers.
“Are you there?” one of us would ask from a downstairs room.
“Yes, I’m here,” the other would answer from an upstairs room. “How are you down there?”
We had just finished a program for 300 teenage inmates at a correctional center in northern India, and many of the boys gathered around us. The theme of our program that day had been the importance of faith in the face of difficulty. That had been something they all could relate to, especially the difficulty part.
A thin fellow standing off in a corner caught my eye. I could tell he wanted to talk but was too shy to make the first move, so I introduced myself and asked him to tell me about himself. He was from a village about 900 km (550 mi) away, he explained, and had come to the big city in search of work. He had been penniless when he was caught traveling without a railway ticket and was sentenced to three months in jail.
In the early morning hours, when I was somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, I had a dream that seemed to be more than a dream—more like an experience. I was in Heaven, and I was with people from my mother’s side of the family who had passed on. I didn’t actually see my mother, who had died not long before, but I could sense that she was there too. I was semi-reclined on a couch, and my relatives were gathered around in a circle, having a discussion. I didn’t seem to be privy to what they were discussing, but was more like an observer viewing the interaction between them. They interacted so well and there was such an air of peace and harmony about it all that I took that as a further indication we were in Heaven.