The Choice, A Story for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost A Loved One

I originally wrote this story almost two years ago for my friend Jean Raffa.  For some reason I never published it.  Recently I heard about a new friend who lost a beloved pet and is moving through her grief, and I remembered this story.  So I decided now is a good time. This story isn’t just about the loss of a pet, but about anyone–human or animal that has passed to the other world. It is a story about choices.  And while it doesn’t completely describe my spiritual beliefs about the afterlife, it is a story of possibilities.  It gives a glimpse of a possible answer as to why certain tragic things happen.  Perhaps it is naive, that’s OK.  I don’t profess to have any answers. It is really meant to bring a little comfort for anyone grieving.  It is also meant to stir the imagination and the heart and to help anyone struggling with loss to gradually blossom into healing.

The Choice

The child
walked through the field of light weeping, looking for his dog.  He called its name as he brushed his hands
over the tops of the radiant wheat.  Suddenly
he heard the soft beating of wings and when he turned towards the sound, an
angel had alighted at his side.

For a long
time they said nothing.  She walked beside
him with her hands cupped at her belly, looking straight ahead.  He swiped a stick at the ground.

“I miss
him,” he said.

“He is your
friend,” she said.

“But I
thought friends never left you. That’s what the other angel said.”

“They don’t leave
you.  But they’re spirits, just like you
and I, and so sometimes–well, sometimes when the unexpected happens, they get
lost for awhile, just like us.”

The boy was
quiet a moment. He knew what she meant by unexpected, for here he was walking the
illuminated fields of heaven with an angel.

“So Bear’s
lost?” He asked.

“In a manner
of speaking.  But he’s looking for
you.  And he’ll find you, you can count
on that.  He’s a clever dog.”

“Do I have
to just wait for him to find me? Couldn’t I look for him too?”

“Of course,”
said the angel, “in fact, your love for him acts as a beacon.  Through the hazy distances of memory and
through the corridors of his love for you—he will find you.  He will come.”

The angel
placed her hand around his shoulder and pulled him closer.

calling him,” she said, “he’s listening. 
And keep being yourself—for it is when you are being yourself the most that
you attract your beloved.”

“Do you
suppose he’s upset that I left him?” asked the boy, his voice catching in his

“Try to stop
thinking about it like that,” the angel answered.  “You didn’t leave him.  You made a choice.  After the accident, when the Great Light
asked if you wanted to remain here, you said yes, that’s all.”

“But I
should have never said yes.  I was being

said the angel, “So you had the opportunity to stay here, in heaven, away from
the sickness that surrounded you, and you call that selfish?”

He’s there though.  I left him there and you know how daddy
treated him.”

“Your daddy
is a different man after the accident. 
Your choice to stay here has changed him.  His heart broke in just the perfect way as to
let the Light in.  He will never mistreat
anyone or anything again.  He is a new
creation.  And if you would have gone
back, he would still be steeped in his disease, so no more talk of being selfish.”

“But what
about mom?” said the boy.

“You don’t
think she’s been born again watching your father be born again?  You don’t think she’s a better person
too?  Your choice to stay here has
changed them both.  There’s hope for them
now.  They are helping thousands of
families with their project.  Many, many
lives will be saved as a result of their
choice to build upon your choice.”

“OK, OK,” so
I’m not selfish, but I still want Bear.”

“Of course,”
said the angel.

“I won’t
stop calling for him until he finds me,” said the boy.

“Or you find
him,” said the angel.

“I’ll keep
praying too,” said the boy.

“You are
praying,” she said, “with every step and tear and word you are praying; by just
being yourself—living the way you are living here in this world of Light and
Use—you are praying.  Don’t ever worry
about not praying.  Everything you do is
a prayer, Dear Brave Heart.”

And with an unfurling
of wings she was gone.

He stood in
the river of white shining grass and started calling again for Bear.  All day he called and walked in the bright field–calling,
calling for his beloved Bear.  He walked
past ponds and fields of wild flowers dappled with bees and butterflies.  He walked past palaces and through forests of
redwoods that towered into the sky of heaven.

And just as
he was going to give up for the day, he heard angels singing.  He spun around.  When the angels sing that song—the welcoming song—there is a new arrival.  The last time he heard it his great Aunt Ivy
appeared.  He ran towards the sound, for
when heaven rejoices at a homecoming, the sound is indescribably wonderful, and
everyone drops what they’re doing and comes running to be a part of the
welcoming of another soul home.  As he
ran he forgot about Bear and instead thought about how happy whoever it is will
be to have returned to their dearest, truest loves.

When he reached
the center of heaven he stopped.  He
shook his head.  He was stunned.  The hosts of heaven, the Great Light, and every
soul from every part of the celestial world had gathered around something
sitting in their midst. 

It was a
black and white shaggy dog. 

“Bear!” He shouted.  And at the sound of his name, Bear took off
running–fairly galloping over the snowy white grass.  He leapt into the boy’s embrace knocking them
both into a tumble of fur and laughter. 

The boy held
him, weeping on his neck.  Bear panted
happily, licking the boy’s face with big, sloppy kisses.

His angel
moved towards them, smiling, singing.

“I didn’t
know they sang the welcoming song for animals too,” laughed the boy with his
arms still around Bear.

“All souls,”
she said, “we sing for all souls.”

“When will I
learn the welcoming song?” He asked, sniffling and rubbing Bear behind the

“Now that
Bear’s with you,” she said, “you are complete. The welcoming song is within you
now—part of your own voice.”

And that’s
when he felt his shoulder blades change their shape.  They extended out and upwards, back and open;
and a certain, splendid heaviness sprouted painlessly in two directions. He
opened and closed his newly sprouted wings as he stood, keeping his hand on
Bear’s head. He smiled at Bear and at the angel and began laughing the laugh of
eternal joy.


Kneeling by
the side of the road, the police officer put his hand on the side of the dog’s bleeding
head.  “He’s gone,” he said.  “There was nothing you could do.  Don’t blame yourself.  It’s dark. 
Hard to see.”

“He just
jumped across the road,” the woman said, sniffling and throwing her hands up in
despair.  “He was running like he was looking
for something. I didn’t see him until it was too late.”

understand,” said the policeman, “are you sure you’re alright?”

“Yes,” she
said, and then she slowly tilted her head and looked up at the stars.

“Do you hear
that?” she asked.

asked the policeman.

she said, “I hear singing.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Thoughts From the Heart, a Collection of Random Musings and Inspirations

From the Heart

Collection of Random Musings



Sure, the razor’s edge exists. So does the edge of praise, of openness, of breathing freely,
and laughter.  We choose the path we walk.


People say to trust yourself, just meditate, go inside.
What if inside is a mess? We all need mentors to help us sort things out


Transforming black and white thinking into the rainbow palette
of reality means opening the heart to the many shades of now–the many shades
of living an alive life.


Crying is for the soul as rain is for the flowers…Water
the garden of the heart with tears, tears of sorrow, tears of laughter.


There is so much light in the darkness. One spark from
your imagination, one note from the song of your heart is enough to create the


Soul calls come every moment, every second; from the
Beloved, from your dreams, from the world. Answer with your whole life.


I used to believe as one
progressed on the spiritual path that it got narrower.  Now I know it broadens, opens, blossoms into
more; more possibilities to praise, more opportunities for gratitude, more
discoveries of healing, more variations of expressing eternal truths, more tolerance
of others, more compassion for both myself and those around me. This is the
Yoga of the Christ, the Buddha, the Divine Mother, the One Light Shining Within
Us All. This is the Yoga of Praise. This is the Yoga of Song. This is the Yoga
of Joy.


Move in the direction of your dreams. They are the
compass rose emblazoned on your heart, and they will always lead to verdant


Let the poem write you.


Dear Sun, as you filter through the curtains, please do
the same in my mind.  Don’t let the dusty
doubts and fears block your way.


Be the one who dances with their dreams. Be the one who spreads the wings of their creativity
and soars above fear and shame.


Be the one who embraces their divinity and lives the life of being called to shine. Be the one
who accepts and shares their given glory.


Be the one who rings the bells of freedom and rises to meet the horizon. Be the one who walks
hand in hand with gratitude and praise.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Breath of the Creator: A Poetic Meditation on the Nature of Creativity

The Breath of the Creator:

A Poetic Meditation on the Nature

of Creativity

By Joseph Anthony


The breath of the

rises from the heart of
the soul.

It rises and expands,
sending stars and planets

spinning into sweeping,
pirouetting orbits.

Upon its current, flows
a song.

As the song blossoms
into an infinite variety

of tones and timbers,
it leaves whale-filled oceans

and bear-filled forests
in its unfurling wake.

Entire continents erupt
on the anthem of its chorus

and spreads around the galaxy
like a majestic spiraling storm—

a storm of exaltation
and wonder,

a storm of unending

thrumming with the
pulsations of creation.

It lifts tired faces,
dries solitary tears, and soothes hearts

that ache to be seen.

As it rises it is sung
from the throats of millions of singers

that rejoice in such

of transcendence.

It blends through all

and drips from the lips
of poets and shamans,

healers and nuns whispering
prayers in solitude

and in gatherings, as
tapestries roll

from the looms of their

It is the song of all

It is the music behind
all things.

It shines from the
colors and textures

of every flower and
feather, every snail shell

and curve of the eagle’s

It rings from the
laughter of children and resonates

upon the walls of the
minds of writers

formulating sentences
filled with syllables

of devotion and the utter
need to share the truths

of their experiences
and images from the wellspring

of their imaginations.

And as this song rises,
it touches your heart,

your lips, your ears,
and leaps from your fingertips

as embrace those you love,

including yourself.

It becomes your

It threads your every
word and breath.

It lifts your dreams on
waves of energy,

smoothing them out over
the landscape 

of satisfied fulfillment.

And you are part and parcel
of that song,

that music of the
spheres ringing 

through all things.

It is your blood, the
breath of your breath, 

the voice of your voice,

the melody of your
heart’s desire.

Run with it, dance with
it, sing along with it 

in full consciousness,

and live, 

truly live.

Spread the harmony
through your own body,

family, community, and places
of worship and work.

Let the world hear the
voice of the Creator

resounding through the
living of your dreams

and in the sharing of
the unending gift

that is you.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog