I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven lately, especially since it’s where my mom spends most of her time these days and I’m sure to end up there soon enough. There are tons of books on the issue. Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven. Randy Alcorn’s In Light of Eternity and Heaven. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. And my personal favorite, In Heaven, As on Earth by M. Scott Peck M.D.
Movies like What Dreams May Come, Made in Heaven, The Lovely Bones and Defending Your Life give us a glimpse into the borders of heaven, right down to billowy clouds and colorfully woven landscapes. But what is heaven really like? And why do we care so much?
For me, I spent much of my 38 years focused on my fear of death and what would come after this life that I couldn’t even enjoy some of the day to day details that made this journey so exciting. It was, by far, my biggest fear. I remember speaking to my mom about it one day and she told me that my fear of death would go away with time as I grew older. And it did. Funny that it took her death to help me realize, that death, is just part of the journey. Not an “eternal” resting place, but maybe just a resting place…a rest stop, so to speak.
When asked by clients, I tell them to close their eyes and imagine, really imagine, what it is like to be walking around in heaven. Then I have them open their eyes and write about what they saw. More than likely, they just took a walk through heaven.
Several months ago I went to a psychic, against my better judgment, who explained to me that heaven is a place just as real as Earth, where we have jobs and relationships and we interact with one another. But there is no real pain, physical or emotional. And we all have a purpose, just like we do here. So maybe, we need to have heaven, as the yen to our yang of Planet Earth and life here as we know it.
I’m not ready to die, but I’m not afraid anymore either. There is still a lot I want to do with my life here. I try to explain this to my clients who get stuck in their grieving process, because while I believe grieving is an important cathartic experience, it is just that…an experience. We must move differently, take with us remnants of those people or animals who have left us, and live as they can no longer. Each person’s conception of heaven is personal and intricate to their own understanding.
I used to get pissed at people who stayed stuck in anger or complacency because my mother no longer had the option to dance in her kitchen to Janis Joplin. But the reality is…she may be dancing in her kitchen with Janis Joplin. I just don’t know. And I can read all of the books and see all of the movies, but to me, heaven will always be what I see in my head. Ornate, golden cities sitting on mountains of grassy knolls. Old, dusty libraries filled with every book ever written, and every book ever imagined for that matter. Amazing beaches of white, diamond sand, with sunsets and sunrises occurring at the same time. And my house will be at the top, with an underground tunnel to winter snows where I can sled down to visit all of my friends who have passed before me
At some point I’m sure I’ll have work to do, but it will have meaning, and maybe I’ll even have the opportunity to come back here and learn some more…I don’t rule anything out. I just don’t know, but I’m no longer going to be consumed by the idea of definitively knowing what heaven is or where it is. That ruins a lot of the magic. And everything is magic. And really, it’s time I put on my shoes, took a walk under the almost full moon, and enjoyed my time on the dewy grass of these plains…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!