Tuesday, 15 May 2012

At the Gates of Heaven,

This post has been written especially for MARY who asked me to.

One day I died and went straight to Heaven where I was met by St Peter at the Gates.

“Ah … you’ve arrived!” he said looking at his electronic notepad, “it says here that you claimed to have a sense of humor when alive … let’s test that shall we?

“Tell me a joke … make me laugh and I’ll let you in!”

I was astounded at his attitude on such a solemn occasion; I stumbled to find the right thing to say.

“Ah … not so funny now, are you?” continued the Saint.

“But … ehm …” I mumbled sensing my throat getting drier with nervousness.    

“So … what will it be? A funny joke … or will you go straight down without a parachute?” chuckled St Peter through his thick beard.

“You’ve just laughed … a little …” I pointed out sheepishly, but not without a modicum of forlorn hope, “surely that counts as a joke!”

“That’s true …” replied St Peter, “you’ve always been ridiculous to look at anyway … so I’ll let you in.”

I smiled, wiping the cold sweat from my brow.

“Not so fast … not so fast …” said St Peter standing at the doorway blocking my view of who was already there. “I need to check a few things first to see whether you need to spend some time at the Purification Center.”

“Purification Center?” I asked.

“Yes …” he replied with a chuckle, “you Catholics call it Purgatory. It’s like a car- wash to make sure everyone who enters here is cleansed.”

I gulped and waited as he tapped furiously on his electronic notepad. It bleeped once or twice and then he said.

“I see that a few years ago you prayed an indulgence to St Victor; your namesake. I remember he was quite pleased about it at the time. Not many people tend to mention him in prayers and for weeks he went around with a big smile on his face. Normally people pray to the more popular Saints … First Division Saints, you know.

“It works both ways I suppose. It’s nice to get so many prayers and requests; but quite honestly I get so many that I hardly have time to read them all.

“Anyway … for your indulgence to St Victor you get one week off from the Purification Center.”

I smiled silently.

“What’s this I see … you also started another indulgence to some obscure Saint I’ve never met. This place is so large it’s just full of Saints. You can hardly walk a few yards without bumping into one. But I’ve never met this one.”

I tried to remember that particular indulgence but couldn’t.

“That’s a pity …” said St Peter, “you never finished the indulgence. So it doesn’t count. In fact I’ll have to add two extra weeks in the Purification Center.”

I began to despair when the telephone in the little guard-house by Heaven’s Gate rang. He answered it and then said.

“Hmmm … it looks like you have friends in high places here. I’ve been asked to let you in.”

I smiled and moved forwards a few feet; but he blocked my way yet again.

“You’ll have to get changed first.” he said, “Go behind that curtain and put this white gown on … we all wear them here!”

“But …” I hesitated gaining a little confidence, “this looks very much like the gowns they give you in hospital … it is all open at the back!”

“That’s right …” he replied, “it is exactly the same gown. As I said, we all wear them here … just don’t stand too close to a hot radiator, and watch out when you sit on a cold park bench!” then he chuckled very loudly once again.

He saw my hesitation and then continued in a much gentler voice with as serious a face as he could muster.  

“We like people to be helpful to each other here in Heaven; it’s not a selfish place you know. When you wear this gown, go around and find someone who is very handy with a thread and needle and ask them to sew it up at the back. That’s what everybody does. Help each other.

“In time, you’ll learn to sew and then you too will be able to help newcomers.

“Also, this gown will teach you humility. You’ll be able to swallow your pride and ask others for help. You’ve always been a bit proud and a little independent … Now’s the time to learn how to rely on other people and to accept their offer of help. Oh … and be grateful too when they help you. Don’t forget to say: Thank you!”

“I will … I will …” I replied timidly.

“Remember” he said, “this gown open at the back will teach you to help one another, will give you humility, make you accept people’s offer of help, and remind you to say Thank you! You’ll also learn how to sew, and of course how not to stand too close to a hot radiator!”

He laughed heartily once again and then said, “So, what will it be? Will you wear the gown or are you going down with no parachute?”

I grasped the gown from his hands and woke up in a cold sweat clutching the bedcovers tightly in my hands.

I must stop having cheese and whisky before bedtime!


  1. You've outdone yourself this time, my friend! This was hilarious from beginning to end! Purification center?! First division saints?! Lol! I almost fell out of my chair again. The indulgences and the gowns cracked me up too! Only you could have thought this up, Victor...only you.

    And, yes, that means I give this post two thumbs up. I think you should post it on the community blog too. I would, but I'm not sure how people go about doing that (you know, they start a post and then say "read more here"?)

    I'm definitely linking to this one on my blog :)

    God bless!

  2. By the way, how did think this up so fast?

    Something's up with my laptop though, because when I hit the arrow nothing happened. I'll have to try from my PC.

    Thanks again for the laugh!

  3. Too funny!! I now have a vision of Heaven where the saints play football in backless gowns...

    I didn't know you were an artist, Victor - I can't believe you were envious of my simple cartoons! Your drawing is much better. You really have talent!!

    God bless:-)

  4. Hi Mary and Vicky,

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this post and it made you laugh.

    As I started typing the words seem to flow and one idea followed another. I'm so glad St Peter did not ask me to wear the open-backed gown back to front to save my blushes. At least his advice to help each other came in handy.

    I like the idea of Saints playing football (soccer) in backless gowns. I wish I'd thought of this.

    No Vicky, I did not draw the cartoons. I have a program where you can pick characters and place them next to each other and make your own cartoons - with speech bubbles too. A bit like ToonDoo which Sue uses.

    God bless you Mary and Vicky.

  5. I was curious - is there really a Saint Victor?

    The backless gown painted funny mental pictures in my mind too. I guess Vicky is a bit more imaginative than me though because my mind just pictured all the saints marching in their gowns to the song - When the Saints Go Marching In.

    Playing football, Vicky?! Lol!!

  6. Victor,

    You said, "As I started typing the words seem to flow and one idea followed another." Don't you just love it when that happens? The post wanted to be written!

    I'm glad it was only a dream. Wearing a gown that opens at the back reminds of all those humiliating and painful experiences in hospital, and if I got handed one by St Peter, I'd probably assume I was going straight to hell. It seems to me that those gowns would be the most appropriate apparel for wearing down there. Though I do like your reasons for why everyone wears them in Heaven!

    Excellent story!

  7. Hello Mary,

    I believe there is a St Victor. Karinann told me about him. I think he was a little more serious than me; but I can't tell you what gown he wore.

    Hello Sue,

    Yes ... Mary, asked me to write a story and it just flowed as I started typing. I'm not quite sure what is the idea about those backless gowns in hospital. And why is it that only the patients wear them? Why not the doctors and nurses too. It would make a stay in hospital much more pleasant !!!

    God bless you Mary and Sue; and your families too.

  8. Hi Victor,

    Haha...the saints giving "the newcomer" a hard time at Heaven's gate! Never thought of that possibility!!

  9. Hi Noreen,

    Yes ... we have to watch out for the Saints!

    God bless.



God bless you.

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