Monday, April 29, 2013

Heaven can wait...forever.

My mother's life, apparently, has been hell. She confided this to me--or actually it was to my husband in my presence, because apparently I was already aware of this information. She said it in reference to the unending stream of afflictions she has had to endure in her lifetime. Frankly, from my perspective, she hasn't had it that bad. Making it to 83 with no more major surgery than a hysterectomy seems pretty reasonable to me. Even lucky. But, alas, my long-suffering mother doesn't see it that way. She has been enduring her trials here on earth because the true joy is yet to heaven.

I have been hearing her Heaven stories for as long as I can remember. She hunted down every book, every magazine article, anything she could lay her hands on that told of the coming glory. I was subjected to an unending series of tales of souls who had made it to the other side for a visit with Jesus before being allowed to return to Earth in order to share their story. I remember stories of iridescent mansions with living roses growing in the walls. Of endless singing and souls infused with light. Even as a child I remember thinking it all sounded beautiful...albeit a bit dull. But even so it was seductive enough that even at the age of five I remember wishing quite vividly that I could die soon so I could be a part of all that beauty. Fortunately for me, that sentiment didn't take hold. I can't say the same for my mother.

She has spent her entire life waiting for paradise. Following the rules and denying herself pleasures, all the while storing up treasures in heaven. I do find it ironic that she admits now to having something of a miserable life, despite the fact that she's spent her life nestled in the palm of Jesus and secure in the bosom of the church. But maybe all the Bible studies weren't as much fun as they appeared to be.

So now, at 85, recovering from open heart surgery and just not feelin' as spry as she thinks she should, she is basically waiting to die. Frankly has been her entire life. And I'd say I expect she's going to be very disappointed but unfortunately I suspect she won't have the chance to be. And I find that very sad. What's even more sad is the fact that she is not alone. Many with similar convictions have the same hopes and dreams and have thrown away a life of opportunity on the gamble that the next life will be risk free.

One story that she told me has stuck with me for years. It was a story of some young child who--ostensibly--succumbed to injuries and made a brief trip to heaven before being relegated back to the world of mortals. In this story the child sat at Jesus' feet and looked down on Earth and asked why some of the poor souls walked with heads high and seemed to shine with colour while others plodded along, their aura gray and their posture hunched as if weighed down by an invisible burden. Jesus told the child that those gray people were weighed down by sin and the gay, colourful people had become free in Jesus. It wasn't too many years later that I realized Jesus had gotten it backwards. He should have recognized the Pride colours even then.

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