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Sunday, June 12, 2011

is heaven for real?

i purchased this book recently after hearing about it in sunday school:

Book: What I Learned from a Simple Blessing
image courtesy of

this book is about a child's observations of heaven that he experienced during a brief loss of consciousness during emergency surgery.  colton, three years old at the time of the incident, began relating details of another world he visited during the surgery.  over the course of a few years he told his parents of the things he saw in heaven, descriptions of God and Jesus, and meeting a grandfather and an older sister.  the parents were stunned by these revelations, as they never told the child about the grandfather who passed away several years before he was born, and the child lost during an early miscarriage (they didn't know the child was a girl, the loss was so early on).  colton offers details in bits and pieces, rarely on demand, and clammed up when pressed for further information.

the child's details, to me, seem so textbook - angels in white robes with wings, Jesus in a white robe with the purple sash, God with the long white beard, "pearly gates", a battle between the angels and satan.  a preacher's kid myself, much of what i learned about heaven came from my sunday school teachers and the painting of Jesus that hung over our altar (hippie hair and beard, white robe, purple sash).  i know growing up, and probably into my early adulthood, i imagined heaven as that place in the sky, angels sitting on fluffy white clouds, talking to a giant God on a golden throne.  perhaps that is what heaven is.

perhaps this book is just another cog in the media machinery.  remember the lovely bones?  that novel was fiction, but it did make me question my beliefs about heaven.  as a teen and into adulthood, my image of Jesus was altered to acknowledge that there was a good chance that he wasn't the WASP/catholic white man with the hippie hair and beard but instead a dark skinned man.  years ago, when my dad (the preacher) had open heart surgery, i asked him if he'd "scene the light".  he said he didn't, that he was unconscious during the procedure.  he then went on to say that these "white light" moments that people see while unconscious or dying, are really brain synapses firing away, making the images of people long past, creating the light.  

a lady in sunday school that day, when asked what she thought about heaven, thought that perhaps heaven is another plane of consciousness.  perhaps heaven is here on earth, and our loved ones are with us, but in another dimension.  

part of me wants to believe this story.  i like the idea that when i go to heaven, i will see my grandparents who died when i was a child.  i look forward to being reunited with the two children i lost on my way to motherhood (in my heart, they are girls).  i can't wait to be in a world that is free of pain and sadness, a world that is nothing but peace and happiness.

i've written here about my dreams about my favorite grandfather.  they seem to happen during the really hard times - maybe it means his spirit is with me, even tho i can't see him.  i can't explain the dreams i have of two little girls - two girls with my dark hair and eyes, one the age of the boy, the other a little older than the kiddos.  two little girls who look like petunia, only with dark hair.  or near misses with accidents, or running into someone that you hadn't seen in years, only to think of them earlier in the day.  coincidences or intervention of a different kind?  i'll never know.  who knows?

heaven is for real is awe inspiring and does provide pause if one has doubts or questions about an afterlife. i'm NOT trying to discount whether or not this kid's words are true or false.  i think we have our own ideas about what heaven is or isn't.

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