My husband guides me through a meditation and tells me to go through a tunnel. To my surprise after exiting the tunnel I continue in the dark. I can't see much but my hands guide me along a man-made wall underground. It seems to be made of large stone blocks. A stairway is somewhere ahead of me in the dark. This life holds several surprises for me. The year is around 1540. I am thirty years old and I am a monk. I am male and am slightly above average height. I have an olive complexion and my brown hair is cut in a tonsure. I wear a long brown robe and sandals. My husband asks my name and I can't remember it but the words Francis or Frank seem to have meaning for me. (My conscious mind intrudes: "A monk named Frank? Give me a break!" Then I realize I could be a Frankish monk or a Franciscan monk.) I continue carefully picking my way in the dark. I am in the wine cellars. Apparently we make wine at this monastery. When I went down to the cellars on an errand I forgot my torch and didn't go back for it. I pride myself on seeing well in the dark. I finally locate the stairs and stumble up them into a kitchen. Other monks are ladling food from pots and there are slabs of bread laid out on wooden tables. I smile at my fellow brothers and continue on my way. I work in the infirmary. I lay my hands on people and it helps them to get better. I also use herbs, bandages and other medicinal accouterments. I study the works of the early church fathers in the monastery library by candlelight. I enjoy my studies and I write about them, the scratching of the quill pen a soothing sound in the dark hours of the night. I speak Latin fluently and enjoy chanting with the other monks. My name is Brother Metus (May-toos.) I have a quirky sense of humor as evidenced by my chosen name. Metus is the Latin name for the Greek god Phobos, the god of fear. Perhaps I am thinking of this Latin proverb: "Ingrata sunt beneficia, quibus comes est metus-- The benefits (of a thing) are not welcome to those for whom fear is a companion." Could my name be a reminder to myself to eschew fear? My life is mainly an intellectual one. I have no close friends and as a monk little contact with whatever family I might have. My emotional needs are met by the roses I tend and by the magnificent stained glass windows in a cathedral. They are so beautiful and the colors are rich and wonderful. I am in a walled city or else the monastery in which I live is walled. I have become somewhat controversial among my brothers. They read my writings on religious subjects and disagree with me fiercely. I enjoy gentle debate but I don't like heated arguments. I can, however, hold my own in an argument and I am rather bull-headed once challenged. I feel frustrated that they make such a big deal over small doctrinal disagreements. I can't see why it should become such an issue. One day I am walking through the courtyard and someone comes up behind me and bashes the back of my head with a stone or some other heavy, blunt object. With no warning whatsoever I find myself looking down on my body. The skirts of my robe are billowing against the stones and my body looks so frail and pathetic. I feel confused. I am so surprised to be dead. Suddenly I wonder if I am going to purgatory. I feel frightened. Instantly I am moving away from the scene of my death and sailing out over the city and beyond over trees and hills. It is as if I can see my tombstone behind me over a great distance but I discard the thought of it and move on faster and faster and faster. I am pulled in through some sort of twist in the very fabric of the world. I am in a beautiful meadow and people are greeting me. My sister, who was so angry at me for becoming a monk, is there. She isn't angry anymore. A young woman approaches. My daughter?! Behind her is a another beautiful woman with a charming smile. She seems so fresh and I cannot get over how alive she looks. I know her. She is my wife who died in childbirth. The young woman is the baby who died with her. After I lost them I had become a monk and closed off my heart to emotion. Now they are with me again. The whole meadow glows with light. I am drawn up into white light and it washes over me, cleansing me like a shower. I laugh as I am pulled into the light. "There is no purgatory after all," I think, "I always wondered about that."