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Not knowing where he was, not understanding how he was where he was, how he got there, what had happened, he looked around.

What he was sure of was that he had not been here before. What he was also fairly sure of, well as sure as one can be in such circumstances, was that just moments ago he was laying asleep in his bed.

But now, well now, he was somehow somewhere completely different and completely new. And so, bewildered and bemused, he stood and looked around him.

There before him lay a long narrow path leading to a small hill. Next to it was a long crystal clear river. Looking down he saw his reflection in the river, and it was then that he noticed his clothes, or more specifically the long amazing multi-shaded coat that he was wearing.

Taking the hem of his coat in his hand he looked at the fabric. To his amazement it was made up of tiny pictures. Pictures of things that had happened in his life. Things he had done with others, to others, for others, and things that others had done with, or for, or to him.

As he viewed them he soon noticed that some were colorful and happy, whilst others were dark, grey or black and white.

Looking down at his reflection in the river once more he couldn’t help thinking how much more colorful his coat would be if it only contained bright, colored pictures.

Returning his attention to his surroundings he then spotted what he thought was a figure on the hill in the distance. Static, almost surreal, the figure seemed to be beckoning him onwards.

He considered his circumstance. He knew not where he was or how he got there. He knew not where he should go, nor indeed who the figure in the distance was. And yet somehow he was neither concerned nor afraid. Somehow he was but at peace.

Walking on he slowly approached the figure who had beckoned him and on approaching him he could sense such peace and love from this man.

“Can you tell me why I am here, or even where I am?” He asked the figure.

“Has not your life, for so long now, been leading on this self-same path?” Was the smiled and only response from the man.

Kevin thought for a moment or two.

“You seem confused.” The man suggested.

“Have I died?” Kevin asked. “Is my walk now over?”

“No my child.” The man comforted him. “This is but a vision, a momentary pause.”

“Why?” Kevin asked. “Why the pause?”

“Perhaps there is something you must learn.” Came the gentle response. “Is there something on your heart?”

At first Kevin remained silent, and then slowly he looked once more at the coat he was wearing.

“Yes my child?” Came the gentle encouragement for Kevin to give voice to his thoughts.

“Um, well, I mean, well it’s this coat,” Kevin spoke softly almost nervously. “It seems to be made up of so many wonderful pictures. Pictures of my life. Bright, colorful happy pictures, and yet amongst them are so many dark, black and white and less happy pictures.”

“Yes indeed.” The man smiled. “And?”

“Well,” Kevin continued, “I know that you have brought me this far and indeed through all of those times, but I wanted so very much to stand before you and make you proud of me.” Again he fumbled with the fabric of his coat. “And it’s just that, well I can’t help wondering, thinking, how much better my coat would look if none of the darker, sadder, black and white pictures were there.”

Sheepishly Kevin looked up into the eyes of the man before him.

Gently taking Kevin by the hand the man led him once more to the river side.

Look at your reflection,” he told him.

Kevin did as he was told and to his amazement all of the darker, sadder, black and white pictures had gone.

Tears began to form in Kevin’s eyes and then trickle slowly down his cheeks.

“What is wrong my child?” The man asked lovingly.

“It’s my coat.” Kevin offered through his tears, “It has lost all of his marvel and wonder.” He sniffled as he lifted the fabric to show the man.

“I thought that if all the sadder, darker greyer, black and white pictures were to go,” Kevin continued, “I would be left with wonderful, bright and happy colors.” He glanced once more into the eyes of his companion. “But instead there are holes, gaps, missing pieces, and even the wonderful bright happy colors of the pictures that remain seem less happy, less colorful, less bright.”

The man smiled. “And so the child learns the lesson he was to learn.” He smiled. “For many times in your walk will you face times less happy, less bright, less colorful. Many times will you face sadness, trials, difficulties and even great hardships. But remember even these times have their purpose, and even these times can be used for my glory. Yes even those darkest of times can I use according to my will and my purpose.”

“I, I am so sorry.” Kevin whispered. But his words were met not with anger or disappointment but with love and warmth as the man simply directed Kevin’s gaze once more to his reflection in the river.

There in front of his eyes his coat was restored to how it was before, no gaps, no tears, no holes, no missing parts. Happy parts, sad parts, shaded parts and glorious colorful parts all back together in their rightful place once more. Once more it was complete and whole again.

Looking up Kevin looked for the eyes that had met him with such love and compassion. But instead of seeing them all he saw was the wall of the bedroom he had been laying in before this had happened.

“Yes Lord, the child has learned the lesson he was too learn.” Kevin whispered through a yawn. “And he is grateful Lord.”