The Second Wife Over There
I AM often called upon here to decide matters for others. Many people call me simply “the Judge”; but we bear, as a rule, the name that we last bore on earth.
Men and women come to me to settle all sorts of questions for them, questions of ethics, questions of expediency, even quarrels. Did you suppose that no one quarrelled here? Many do. There are even long-standing feuds among them.
The holders of different opinions on religion are often hot in their arguments. Coming here with the same beliefs they had on earth, and being able to visualise their ideals and actually to experience the things they are expecting, two men who hold opposite creeds forcibly are each more intolerant than ever before. Each is certain that he is right and that the other is wrong. This stubbornness of belief is strongest with those who have been here only a short time. After a while they fall into a larger tolerance, living their own lives more and more, and enjoying the world of proofs and realisations which each soul builds for itself.
But I want to give you an illustration of the sort of questions on which I am asked to pass judgment.
There are two women here who in life were both married to one man, though not at the same time. The first woman died, then the man married again, and soon—not more than a year or two after—the man and his second wife both came out. The first wife considers herself the man’s only wife, and she follows him about everywhere. She says that he promised to meet her in heaven. He is more inclined to the second wife, though he still feels affection for Wife No. 1. He is rather impatient at what he calls her unreasonableness. He told me one day that he would gladly give them both up, if he could be left in peace to carry out certain studies in which he is interested. These were among the people I met soon after I began to be strong myself here—it was not so very long ago; and the man has sought my society so much that the women, in order to be near him, have come along too.
One day they all three came to me and propounded their question—or, rather, Wife No. 1 propounded it. She said: “This man is my husband. Should not, therefore, this other woman go far away and leave him altogether to me?”
I asked Wife No. 2 what she had to say. Her answer was that she would be all alone here but for her husband, and that as she had had him last, he now belonged more to her than to the other.
In a flash the memory came to me of those Sadducees who propounded a similar question to Christ, and I quoted His answer as nearly as I could remember it: that “when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”
My answer was as much a staggerer for them as their question had been for me, and they went away to think about it.
When they were gone I began myself to ponder the question. I had already observed that, whether or not all here are as the angels in heaven, there does seem to be a good deal of mating and rejoining of former mates. The sex distinction is as real here as on the earth, though, of course, its expression is not exactly the same. I asked myself a good many questions which perhaps would never have occurred to me but for the troubles of this interesting triad, and I thought of the man I had somewhere read about, who said that he never knew his own opinion of anything until he tried to express it to somebody.
After a while the three came to me again and said that they had been talking things over, perhaps after the manner of angels in heaven; for Wife No. 1 told me that she had decided to “let” her husband spend a part of his time with the other woman, if he wanted to.
Now, the man had a sweetheart, a girl sweetheart, before he had either of his wives. The girl is out here somewhere, and the man often has a strong desire to try to find her. What opportunity he will now have to do so, I cannot say. The situation is rather depressing for the poor fellow. It is bad enough to have one person who insists on every minute of your society, without having two. And I think his case is not unusual. Perhaps the only way in which he can get free from his two insistent companions is by going back to the earth.
There is a way, however, by which he could secure solitude; but he does not know of it. A man who knows how can isolate himself here as well as he could on earth; he can build round himself a wall which only the eyes of a great initiate can pierce. I have not told this secret to my friend; but perhaps I shall some day, if it seems necessary for his development that he have a little solitude. At present it seems to me that he will learn more from adjusting to this double claim and trying to find the truth that lies in it. Perhaps he may learn that really, essentially, fundamentally, he does not “belong” to either of these women. The souls out here seem to belong to themselves, and after the first few years they get to love liberty so much that they are ready to yield a little of their claim upon others.
This is a great place in which to grow, if one really wants to grow; though few persons take advantage of its possibilities. Most are content to assimilate the experiences they had on earth. It would be depressing to one who did not realise that will is free, to see how souls let slip their opportunities here, even as they did on the moon-guarded planet.
There are teachers here who stand ready to help anyone who wishes their help in making real and deep studies in the the mysteries of life—the life here, the life there, and in the remote past.
If a man understands that his recent sojourn on earth was merely the latest of a long series of lives, and if he concentrates his mind towards recovering the memories of the distant past, he can recover them. Some persons may think that the mere dropping of the veil of matter should free the soul from all obscuration; but, as on earth so out here, “things are not thus and so because they ought to be, but because they are.”
We draw to ourselves the experiences which we are ready for and which we demand, and most souls do not demand enough here, any more than they did in life. Tell them to demand more, and the demand will be answered.
Extract from Letters From A Living Dead Man. By Elsa Barker