The day we put our friend to sleep,
I fretted through the night,
and eyed the rug where he had lain
and wondered-were we right?
Then in the early morning hours
there came the strangest dream,
that put me by a garden gate,
a meadow, and a stream.
The birds flew in a brilliant sky,
and darkness never came,
and every sparrow had a nest,
and every hawk was tame.
No need of talons here,
or teeth-no cages here,
or pen- for every cave and burrow
had a happy denizen.
How wonderful to find the pets
that I had ever known-
the ones I had when I was small,
and ones when I was grown.
They told me they'd been waiting here
especially for me,
where no one is a master or a slave
-but all are free.
So all around the meadow's edge
we walked-my pets and I;
and talked about the good times past,
before I said goodbye.
I somehow understood their words
-with joy I told them so,
but each one reassured me that,
"You always did, you know."
We walked through perfect gardens,
and then back along the stream;
they followed my returning
to the gate before the dream.
I put my hand upon the latch,
and felt a windy mist-
I hugged and patted every one,
and every one I kissed.
Now such a peace came over me
that there was such a land,
I'd hoped and trusted it would be
within God's loving hand.
"Now don't forget to come again"
they said, and crowded near,
"You're welcome any time at all
-the meadow's always here."
I told them I would try again
to dream the garden gate,
the meadow and the stream, and all
-some night to recreate.
But if someday I didn't come,
they shouldn't grieve or cry,
for I might be in Heaven then,
and past their brilliant sky.
They looked at one another then,
and then they looked at me.
"Why, THIS is Heaven, dearest friend,
and where you hope to be.
Did you think that The Creator
would forget his steward true?
Where once you chose each one of us,
He lets us now choose YOU."
And then the mist closed over them
and I was swept away,
back to my home, my room, my bed,
and to another day.
No more will I be grieving,
for it's just a little wait--
I hope I find the meadow
that's beyond the garden gate!