The closer I get to death, the more I need for heaven to be a real place.
|If I could pray for anything and have my prayers answered, it would be for Heaven to exist. Only with that reassurance could I stop being afraid of death. The closer I get to my sixtieth birthday the more I am aware I have spent more years on this earth than I have yet to spend, the more I am afraid of leaving my daughters, and the more I am afraid I will never have my dream of publishing children’s stories realized. I don’t want to miss out.
My mind has much difficulty simply living in the moments of each day. I think about the future. I think about what the lines on my face, the loss of elasticity in my skin and the greys appearing in my hair tell me: life is short and then you die. The question I long to be answered now as opposed to later is, is there an afterlife? Is the Long Island Medium really receiving messages from happy souls living on the other side of the clouds and watching over us? Or is it ashes to ashes and dust to dust? If it is the latter, then what is it that motivates people to keep moving forward?
Heaven is a concept. It is something in which we need to believe in order to make many parts of this earthly life tolerable. The egotistical mind cannot fathom us being here just to be here. To have all accomplishments we have worked for forgotten, all connections we have made severed, all pain we have endured erased feels like too abrupt of an end. There has to be a place where we can be rewarded for our efforts, where our health has no issues, where we can reunite with those whom we have loved and lost. There just has to be. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of all this effort?
People like me – who really need for Heaven to be more than a concept – latch onto any signs of its existence. The seemingly realistic channeling of psychics, the stories of children seeing and talking to their deceased relatives, the miracles reported all point to its possibility. But then there is the rational side of my brain that wants to deny my fantasy. The biggest issue it has, after all these years, is Heaven has to be an extremely crowded place. A lot of people have died. If most have gone to heaven, then where does God put them all?
Of course the reality of Heaven presupposes the existence of God. The same egotistical self needs to believe in His presence as well. We are just too important to simply die like all of the other animals in the world. God gave us a brain for a reason, right? At this point in my life, I am not always grateful to have this ability to think. I do too much of it. Worry is a waste of the imagination, but knowing that does not help me to do any less of it. My biggest worry is that I die and I do not get to watch my daughters continue to grow. Heaven needs to be so I can.
Being in Heaven will not help me to get published, but lately, the thought that it does not exist occasionally causes me to be less motivated to work toward that end. When doubt creeps in, so does defeat. Why bother? Why put in the effort at this stage if, in the end, I do not reap the rewards of watching children enjoy my product? For as long as I can remember I have envisioned children laughing or smiling while reading something I wrote. Is this yet merely another idea not to be realized?
I pray on a nightly basis – asking for God to bless and protect Casey, Maggie and Shannon. The less tired I am, the longer my list of prayers is and the longer the list of people included in it. Do I pray because I am afraid if I don’t something might happen to the girls or do I pray because I truly believe God can and will watch over them? I know I hope the latter is true, but I am not always sure I believe it. But there is guilt in even writing those words because I don’t want God to think I don’t believe in Him if He is there. It is all so complicated. Imagine how less complicated it would be if we could not think!
I come from a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic and abusive step-father and an un-nurturing mother. It was easy then to question God’s existence because why would He allow innocent children to be raised in such an environment? But then I met a God-loving family who changed my life. Eventually I end up married, with three intelligent, talented, successful children (I could go on). I have a supportive husband. We both have good jobs. I am grateful. Am I blessed or am I lucky?
The idea of God and the thought of Heaven motivate many of us to be good people, to make good decisions, to serve the community. Is it God who directs our conscience? I am a middle school math teacher. My job is fulfilling (unlike when I was a tax accountant – my apologies to any CPA’s reading this) because I feel as though I am contributing to society. Something in my soul told me I had to. Was that something the need to impress St. Peter at the Pearly Gates – just in case the gates someday opened up for me? Or was that something merely in my wiring – my genetic code?
I do not have answers to any of my questions. I would have great peace of mind if I did. I would greatly appreciate the feedback of anyone who can confirm God’s and Heaven’s existence. Those who can deny it are invited to remain silent.
P.S. Dear God, if Heaven is indeed a real place, I still would rather remain on this earth and in good health for as long as I can to be with my children than to be up there.