December 1, 2010
Thoughts on “Heaven is for Real”—a book about a little boy who visited heaven during his surgery.
What do I do with this information? I spent an hour in the store skimming through the book, Heaven is For Real, a “true story” written by the boy’s father who is a Christian pastor. The little boy, in bits and pieces the way a young child would do, over weeks and months and even years, related what and who he saw and talked to while in heaven. His descriptions matched those given in the Bible–the book of Revelations in particular. What the little boy said Jesus looked like ended up matching a painting done by a 12 year old girl who has claimed to also have visited or had visions of heaven and other-worldly beings including Jesus and angels—and has been able to paint them. While there, he says he met a sister that his mother had miscarried so early in the pregnancy there was no way of knowing the sex—and a fact the boy had no way of knowing. He met his great-grandfather and later easily picked him out of a photo when the man was only 29 years old and the boy had never seen photos of him, young or old.
The heaven he described, however, seemed strange to me. Especially what he describe while “hanging out” in the throne room. It almost sounded like a scene from Mount Olympus with the robes and sashes, the crowns and rainbows, the swords and wings and the golden gates with pearls.
What really began to upset me though was the little boy’s impression that unless someone had Jesus in their heart, they wouldn’t be allowed in. He didn’t say where they would go so the reviewer, who automatically assumed these others would be damned, might not be on target. So, I thought, are there lots of Mount Olympuses, one to mirror each culture’s idea of the hereafter? And will you only be allowed into the one you align with? Are these places and Beings really what in scientific terms we would call “other worlds”, or “other dimensions” or alien Beings and planets?
Religious groups speak of gods and all the rules and regulations that must be honored and obeyed in order to please them and thus be found acceptable and be blessed. Other people talk of the ancestors and a Great Spirit. Others speak of other “alien” Beings and space ships and things right out of science fiction. Others are saying we are all One and part of the Energy Field that is God. Who to believe?
Having been rooted in the Christian stories and traditions for most of my life, it isn’t difficult for me to want to gravitate toward Jesus—to wanting the story of his life to be true. It is hard when some historian points out that the myths around Jesus are only another version of much older stories. It is hard to know how to reconcile what science has begun to prove about energy and the connectedness of all things–the power of our thoughts to create–with a simple “be good, ask Jesus in your heart, and you will go to this heaven when you die”; all very passive, really, for we ask “God” to do everything for us–help us, strengthen us, heal us, provide for us, protect us, give us wisdom, let us win the game or the war or the lottery.
I know how I feel when I read Eckert Tolle, or listen to Keisha Crowther, or watch the people from tribes all over the world come together to call the whales. I feel moved to do better, to care more, to love more, to invite more light into my being. When I read Heaven is for Real I feel afraid, I feel left out and confused, I feel angry for all those who according to this won’t be allowed “in” because they sought to love and be light through a different way and tradition.
I am so impatient with this veil that is between me and the “other side”. I want to rip it down, to understand and to see what is true. Some people are allowed to slip through while still living in these body suits here on Mother Earth. But perhaps most of us will not be allowed through until we leave these bodies. I understand better what she means when Keisha Crowther says what a wonderous thing then it is, that even in this darkness, we would choose to reach for the light and to love, even not knowing exactly what or who is out there watching us, waiting for us, cheering for us or opposing us.
I suppose that is my answer. Lay aside my demand to know. Embrace my life as it is and what I can comprehend of the Universe. Do the one thing that I do know has been asked of me: to learn to love well. To walk, run, breathe, eat and sleep love and acceptance. Not passively, but yet without judgment. Loving Mother Earth. Loving the animals. Loving people—the ones I agree with and the ones who do harm, both. Forgiving. Feeling and acting with compassion. Being directed by kindness. For myself, for others, for all.
Also, to accept whatever comes into my life today, even while asking for what I desire, what I believe I need. To envision the good for others and the world that I desire to be reality.
In the end it doesn’t matter which god might be in charge of all the others, or who is seeing what visions or having encounters with what Beings. Is their message about love? Is it about creating a world of light and beauty and health and strength and love for all beings?
Am I choosing to love?