“Oh no” said Herbie “it was lucky because it had me to look after it. Do you know what happened to it? I think its luck must have run out when
I got hit by that truck”.
“The glass survived” St Peter told him “but it's not lucky any more. It's been thrown into a bin where it will be forgotten about and
“Like my kids”said Herbie, immediately getting what St Peter was hinting at.
“It's what happens” said St Peter “when anything is abandoned by someone who loved them”.
“I don't deserve to go to Heaven, do I?” asked Herbie
St Peter shifted on his cloud, a bigger, more luxurious cloud than Herbie's. “What do you think will happen to your piece of glass now?” he
Herbie considered the idea, “Well”, he ventured “it will probably go to a landfill site and spend millions of years rotting down. Or maybe”
he brightened up, “one of them archaeologists might dig it up, like Tutankhamen”.
“I read about that in the papers” he added proudly.
“Have a look” said St Peter indicating a gap in the cloudy Heavens. Herbie looked down on a recycling plant and, squinting, was just in time to
see his lucky piece of glass go into the grinder.
“Oh” he said in awe “it's going to be ground up and used to make something else”.
“Yes” said St Peter “I arranged for that to happen. I thought you'd be pleased. It's my job to make sure everyone and everything goes on to
the right place. And because that piece of glass was special to you, and you had designated it as lucky, it will have a bright future now as part of
a new and beautiful object”.
“May I see?” asked Herbie, anxious to see that something he'd loved had actually achieved a good outcome from him having loved it.
St Peter parted the clouds again and indicated a shop window in an extremely posh and exclusive part of town. Taking pride of place in the centre of
the display was a beautiful bluish glass vase. Outside of the shop a young couple were admiring it.
“Will they buy it?” Herbie wanted to know.
“Oh yes” replied St Peter “that's the first thing they'll ever buy together for their new home. They'll treasure it and it'll become a much
loved family heirloom, especially to be treasured by their first born son, who will notice it's beauty from the first time he sees it. His mother
will put it in his nursery, near the window and the sunlight will shine on it and the baby will love it.'
Tears came to Herbie's eyes “I'm so happy for it” he said “My lucky piece of glass will still be lucky and loved. It's because of me, that,
“Indeed it is” agreed St Peter
“What about me?” asked Herbie, finally remembering his own predicament, which he'd forgotten in his concern over his lucky piece of glass.”
“Well now” said St Peter “you've proven to me that after all that happened to you in your unfortunate life, you still had a loving heart. You
loved your wife and your first child, against all the odds. After all, no-one had ever loved you and yet you found a way to love them. I agree, you
went off the rails for a while – well, most of your life, to be fair, but you found your loving heart again when you found that piece of glass.
You treasured it and loved it and even now, you cared more for it and its welfare than you cared for your own. You deserve another chance” he
continued “and I know the very place to send you”.
* * *
Lying in his cot a little baby looked across the nursery at a beautiful pale blue vase that his mother had put near the window where it could catch
the sunlight and amuse her precious child. The baby giggled in delight and reached out chubby little arms to try and touch the vase.
Well, he was a baby. A bit early to expect him to understand about space and distance. His mother picked him up and took him closer “Don't touch,
Darling” she warned him, anxious not to see the vase broken. The baby wailed, so she held him just a little nearer and saw him happy.
Throughout his long life he loved the vase and treasured it, finally intending to pass it on to the favourite of his many grandchildren. How often
he'd sit and gaze at it, marvelling at the way the Sun made it sparkle.
He'd point it out to his grandchildren and found himself happy when they shared in his delight. He'd make up wonderful stories about how the vase was
pirate treasure, or a magical, mystical artefact from the East and listen happily to the kids as they wandered off discussing his latest tall tale.
But, as an elderly man he became frail and unsteady on his feet causing his family great concern. They made sure that someone was always around to
care for their beloved grandfather, the best in the world, they all agreed.
One afternoon, after dozing in his chair and occasionally waking to look at his vase shining in the sunshine the old man knocked it over as he reached
out to touch it. He saw his beloved vase shatter into many pieces.
Hearing the noise his favourite grandchild came rushing to his aid “Oh no – grandfather, your vase” she cried looking at the forlorn shards
strewn across the floor.
The old man bent to pick up one of the pieces as it shone in a sunny spot on the carpet, it was little bigger than a watch face. “It's alright”
he said “this piece is lucky”.
And so it was, because the piece of glass was kept by the old man, in the left hand pocket of his dressing gown, where he caressed it as if to comfort
it and himself. He was holding it when he died, peacefully, in his bed.
* * *
He found himself on a cloud, up in Heaven, a small harp at his feet. He looked over to his left and saw what seemed to be a familiar figure.
“St Peter?” he asked
“You remember” smiled St Peter
“Well, yes, yes I do” said the old man “we've been here before”. He paused as the memories flooded over him, most of them uncomfortable.
“Are you ready to go on now?” asked St Peter “Or are you still fixated on your lucky piece of glass?”
The old man smiled “I did better in that life didn't I? I loved my family and worked hard for them, so I think maybe now I can move on”.
“Good man” said St Peter “so you shall”.
“Is this real?” asked the old man “these clouds and harps and things. Is this the real afterlife?”
St Peter looked gravely at him “The afterlife is what you make it” he said “just as your Earthly life was what you made it. Remember, you made
a piece of glass important, something that no-one else wanted or cared about. You cared enough to go back and treasure it all over again and, in so
doing, you righted some wrongs from your previous life”.
“My wife and kids?” asked Herbie “they were among my grandchildren weren't they? My favourite, that was my wife. But I didn't go back for
them, did I? I went back for a piece of glass”.
“Don't be so hard on yourself” said 'St Peter' “you went back for love”.
edit on 17-4-2015 by berenike because: (no reason given)