Thursday, January 08, 2009

Heaven

Most people's idea of heaven has to do with one's soul transcending from earth to a spirit realm full of light and eternal happiness where they will be reunited with their deceased loved one. Typically one thinks of heaven being inhabited by God, Jesus, angels, and the souls of good people.

Other people's idea of heaven has to do with lots and lots of chocolate.

I'm not quite sure what I believe about heaven. I was raised in the Jehovah's Witness religion and taught that most deceased people do not go to heaven, but await a resurrection to life on earth again, after Armageddon. But like most JW teachings, I no longer subscribe to this.

But if the concept is true that people are reunited with loved ones in heaven, how does this work?

Let's say that Martha was married to Charles for 15 years, until he died of a heart attack. Then a few years later Martha marries Tom. 10 years later Martha dies of cancer. A few years later Tom marries Judith, and both die of old age.

Martha loved Charles, and she loved Tom. Which 'loved one' is she reunited with in heaven?

Tom loved Martha, and he loved Judith. Which 'loved one' is he reunited with in heaven?

As you can see, it can get tricky.

But this question was answered for me in the movie 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven', based on Mitch Albom's book by the same title. In it the lead character Eddie dies and goes to heaven, but it is NOT what he was expecting. No angels, no eternal happiness, at least not at first.

Eddie learns that upon arriving in heaven each person meets 5 people whose lives he affected while on earth. I expected scenes that would show the positive affects on other lives, such as Eddie mowing the lawn for a grateful widowed neighbor, or perhaps a former employee Eddie mentored. But instead, the 1st of 5 people Eddie meets in heaven is a man who died as a result of Eddie's childhood behavior!

But the 4th person Eddie meets in heaven is his beloved wife, Marguerite. She is the one who answers MY question of which 'loved one' we are reunited with in heaven. She explains that heaven is not a single place or state. Rather, after meeting one's 5 people, each of us receives our very own unique heaven.

Eddie's wife loved attending weddings, so her heaven was a never-ending wedding, with laughing and dancing and happiness and joy. Once Eddie died, he was present with her in her heaven.

Eddie grew up around and worked for many years in an amusement park, so his heaven was an amusement park. Its always warm and sunny, there are hundreds of happy families, and his wife Marguerite is present with him in his heaven.

So, each person gets their own unique heaven AND they are present in other people's heavens too. Get the picture? This would allow Martha, Charles, Tom, and Judith to all have different heavens with their 'loved one' present with them.

Of course, this is just a movie. But since no one can successfully prove what heaven is or is not, I choose to believe in the heaven portrayed in this movie. To me it makes the most sense, and it answers my question.

I believe my heaven will be a warm, sunny, breezy day on the beach, with Spouse and many other friends sitting in beach chairs beside me. On the radio Ella Fitzgerald will be singing, and my Cadillac (Big Ella) will be parked just over the dunes. That sounds like heaven to me!

So, what does your heaven look like?

Crush du Jour: Jason Chambers

10 comments:

Bob said...

I hadn't seen the movie, or read the book, but I like Albom's idea of heaven.
Not being religious, although I am spiritual, I do believe in heaven.
But I also believe in reincarnation. I truly believe I have been here before, and will be here again, before I reach my ideal heaven.
Anyway, I could go on and on, but I'll stop and just say,
Great thoughtful post!

truthspew said...

I really don't want to come off as strident but there is no heaven or hell. This is the only chance we get.

But Bob has something of a point. Ultimately there is reincarnation of some sort. In anywhere from 2 billion to 5 billion years earth will be consumed by our sun.

Ultimately all that material gets cast back out into the universe to be used by newly forming stars and planets.

Alex C. said...

I love that book! I read it awhile ago, and it was so touching.

~A

cb said...

how about being chockers with all your tricks?? And then you have one, never ending, hedonistic orgy?

Victor said...

I have no idea what my heaven would be like but I'm sure it would be enhanced if your crush du jour for the post, Jason Chambers, came there with me.

CJ said...

I have to say, with great sorrow, I have doubts.

mistress maddie said...

My idea of heaven is with Jason Chambers! Woof!

the hobbit said...

Heaven is what your brain tells you it is until your brain's electrical impulses stop firing.

Mine would be a day with AlternaChef, free to explore a new place with all the money we need to entertain ourselves. Something to learn, something pretty to appreciate, something nice to eat when we're hungry. Somewhere comfortable to go when the day is over and relax with each other until we're ready to do it again.

Joy said...

I plan to read that book and see the movie. I like his idea of heaven. I'm not sure what I think happens but would like to believe in reincarnation. It's the most appealing theory to me. Being human, we don't like to think this is it.

Scott De Buitléir said...

This is one of the most touching blog entries I have ever read! I loved how you finished it, writing about what you hope Heaven will be like for you, and it was almost like a scene from a movie. Beautifully written - well done.