The following are excerpts from the book Anne of the Island. Ruby Gillis is a beautiful young lady dying of an illness, and Anne is a friend come to comfort her.
“…oh, Anne” — [Ruby] reached out and caught Anne’s hand pleadingly, impulsively — “I don’t want to die. I’m AFRAID to die.”
“Why should you be afraid, Ruby?” asked Anne quietly.
“Because — because — oh, I’m not afraid but that I’ll go to heaven, Anne. I’m a church member. But — it’ll be all so different. I think — and think — and I get so frightened — and — and — homesick. Heaven must be very beautiful, of course, the Bible says so — but, Anne, it won’t be what I’ve been used to.”
…Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She WAS leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life — the things that pass — forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other — from twilight to unclouded day.
…Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different — something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.”
When you get to the end of life, what will you wish you had set your heart on? Do you agree with Anne? Or feel more like Ruby when you consider heaven?