C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
The Great Divorce: a dream (1946), pp97-99:
The reason why I asked if there were another river was this. All down one long aisle of the forest the undersides of the leafy branches had begun to tremble with dancing light; and on earth I knew nothing so likely to produce this appearance as the reflected lights cast upward by moving water. A few moments later I realised my mistake. Some kind of procession was approaching us, and the light came from the persons who composed it.
First came bright Spirits, not the Spirits of men, who danced and scattered flowers - soundlessly falling, lightly drifting flowers, though by the standards of the ghost-world each petal would have weighed a hundredweight and their fall would have been the crashing of boulders. Then, on the left and right, at each side of the forest avenue, came youthful shapes, boys on one hand, and girls on the other. If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who reads that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done. …
‘And who are all these young men and women on each side?’
‘They are her sons and daughters.’
‘She must have had a very large family, Sir.’
‘Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.’
‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’
‘No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. …
‘Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.’
I looked at my teacher in amazement.
‘Yes’, he said, ‘It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life’.