March 15, 2008

Will I see you in heaven?

I can't ignore the importance and depth of the connections that some people share. Sometimes you can see it in people's eyes. And even when our lives change, our circle of friends shifts, our lovers migrate — there is something that will always snap us out of our delusion that we let go or moved on: death. Some soul-bonds transcend it, of that I am certain.
An email made its way back to me today, one that I wrote a few years ago in response to a question that Delle posed about heaven in an online discussion:
The Communists at my work like to tease (and provoke) me every once in awhile by mocking the comcept of heaven, singing an old favorite of theirs: "they'll be pie in the sky when you die..."

And I have to say, I don't know about you all, but I give very little if any thought to heaven or the afterlife on a day-to-day basis. I guess this is where I become a very, very bad catholic. We are taught that this life is not the REAL life, that the real life is awaiting us, the kingdom...

But how can I help but live in anything but the present? Shouldn't I be motivated by other things than rich rewards and "pie in the sky" in how I live my life?

Also, I really, really like the concept of reincarnation. I think I've sort of morphed that belief to be sort of a "purgatory" that we go through until we reach Nirvana, which might be like heaven. I just have the sense that certain relationships that I have in my life are truly timeless, that we have known each other for many lifetimes. Anyone else ever feel that? Maybe we only reach heaven when we've worked out all that we need to work out. So, for me, heaven would be a soul-state of peace and union with the divine. I don't know if I believe that
we'll keep our bodies (though I say it every week in the creed; there's that darn creed again...) but I do believe that there is something significant we're to gain from having a body, that this form we take is important in some way.

Finally, when I was in fourth grade and taking catechism classes for first communion, we were talking about heaven when I suddenly found myself in a theological quandry that I put to the teacher, a former nun. "Say for
example that your father, whom you love dearly, committed a mortal sin for which he was not sorry, did not seek forgiveness for, did not confess, was not forgiven...therefore, he didn't go to heaven. Then how can heaven be
a perfect place if all the people that I love are not there with me?"

Her answer still floors me to this day: "Then you didn't really love him." I was an astute kid, so I knew instantly that she had it all wrong. That may have been my first incidence of questioning church authority, bucking the
system. But it was clear then that she was wrong, or at least I would not accept her answer as truth. I now knew that it was ok to disagree and question what I was taught, that they didn't really have all the answers. I really don't know what happens when I die, but I know that if there's a heaven, love will be there.

Which means everyone will be there.

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