A birds-eye view of a particular section in downtown Boise currently looks like a knoll covered with hundreds of industrious carpenter ants. Heavy equipment and hardhats abound, but the piece that grabbed my attention is one of the sky-high cranes. To me it looks tall enough to knock on Heaven’s door.
Whether Heaven is a geographic location with pearly gates and streets paved with gold, a gathering place for source energy, a reassuring figment of one’s imagination, or something else altogether, it’s the term many spiritual traditions use when referring to where one’s spirit/soul goes in the afterlife.
My father recently passed away and it’s comforting for me to think about his returning “home” after “graduating” from a lifelong class of learnings here on Earth.
A student of purposeful living, I’m ready and rarin’ to continue learning for several more decades. But if I find myself knocking on Heaven’s door anytime soon, I feel at peace with that, too.
Are you prepared to knock on Heaven’s door?
so interesting and great!
Mihrank – I’m glad this post resonated with you 🙂
Hmmm ~ instead of answering the question, I want to comment on “ready and raring to continue learning” ~ life has been teaching me too much lately and I would like a hall pass to take a break from my studies!!!
FiftyandFeisty — Your comment made me laugh 🙂
If you asked me that question in the depth of the dreary winter, I’d say absolutely, take me there now, but just let me enjoy one more summer… 🙂
FatimaSaySell — yes, Yes, YES! 🙂
Laurie, like you I’m rearing for more lovely years on earth but if at anytime the Lord calls me then I’m prepared to knock on His door and I am sure He will let me in willingly having called me in the first place. 🙂
My deepest sympathies on your bereavement.
ReadingInPleasure — Thank you for your warm condolences.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad, Laurie.
I don’t believe in an afterlife. Or more accurately, I don’t believe in Heaven, but I don’t know what may or may not come after. So I guess I’m not knocking–I’ll have to wait for an invitation. 🙂
Merrill — “…I’ll have to wait for an invitation.” Oh, I love it! 🙂
To answer your profound question, I’ll turn to Emily Dickinson: “This world is not conclusion; a sequel stands beyond.” I look forward to answering the invitation to spend my life after this with God.
Again, my condolences to you and your family. Being separated from a loved one is very difficult, I know.
Marian — I love the sentiment you shared from Emily Dickinson. Wise woman, she! Thank you, again, for your warm condolences.
So sorry Laurie to hear of your Dad’s passing. Sincerely, Mona
Mona — I appreciate your condolences. Thank you.
I’ve been aware of my mortality in a tangible way for many years now. i don’t think it’s so much age related as an awareness of just how many (famous) people have moved on already, which began when I taught English Lit in Kazakhstan. They are all dead! I cried out, yet their work lives on.
I’m part of that same gigantic mass of humanity, slowly inching our way closer and closer to that portal, not knowing which of us will drop away next. To me, it shall be the next “great adventure.” I certainly do not know what awaits me. But I have no fear. If I did, I’d not be able to fully live.
Thanks for your provocative post.
Janet — “The next great adventure.” I’m irrevocably with you in that vein of thinking! 🙂
For sure! I do believe I have more to accomplish and I am grateful for each moment!
Jeff — Hear, hear! Here’s to many more moments 🙂
If the apple didn’t far from the tree … that door was swinging wide open 🙂
With truly a remarkable generation entering a spiritual journey this last season, I truly feel an enveloping of their energy surrounding us with a beautiful embrace; pure and devoid of limitation. I only hope to carry that legacy and evolve as much as they did. Either way we are reaching for that spiritual world connecting with each other everyday. So knocking or not I suppose we are on the same path … One path with a body and one not. Mucho blessings and hugs
Cinamon — So good to hear from you. I could see your smiling face as I read your words. I especially enjoyed, “…pure and devoid of limitation.” Yes, indeed 🙂
Great question Laurie! I still have lots to learn and don’t want to be leaving anytime soon. But on many accounts I’m ready to move on to that next chapter. Will it be the final chapter? I don’t know, but whatever is out there will be an adventure.
Joan — I agree. Regardless, it “will be an adventure.”
Sorry for your loss. I also lost my father a few months back and it makes you wonder and puts things into perspective. I guess it’s a case of ‘ready or not here I come’. Let’s enjoy every minute and do our very best. Thanks Laurie
Olga — “Lets enjoy every minute and do our very best.” I’m with you wholeheartedly! And Olga, I, too, am sorry for your loss.
I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing; sending you healing energy.
I was raised in the belief that heaven was a place.
Now I wonder… What if heaven is a series of experiences we are having now?
And if there is no place called heaven, where do we go when we die?
Maybe our essence remains with those we love. Maybe your dad is still with you — in your heart (the love you shared); in your head (memories).
Am I ready to go?
The older I get the more prepared I become.
Leanne — Your thoughts regarding our essence sound plausible to me. Thank you for your warm condolences and healing energy — I appreciate YOU!
Thought-provoking post Laurie, as yours always are. I’m not certain what I believe, but when husband died I was comforted by my feeling that he would finally be at peace, with no more pain and no more demons to fight. As for me – not ready to go yet, there’s so much more yard work to be done, books to be read and flowers to smell.
Carol — Like you, I embrace the idea that PEACE is a huge factor in what comes after we draw our last breath in this lifetime.
No I ‘m not going until I have been to all the countries in the world that I want to go to , till I’ve had a book published, till I’ve danced with John Travolta …till , till, till …no never sorry he’ll have to drag me there kicking and screaming .
My heart goes out to you for the loss of your Dad .
Cherry — I can picture you digging in your heels yelling, “I shan’t go yet — not until I’m through!”
I too would like to add my condolences on the loss of your father; so very sorry.
I do think the loss of a parent is in some ways (at least for the over 60 crowd) a reminder of a reservation being held in one’s own honor for the next “station.”
Ironically last night I was thinking of the fact that given my family genes I could easily live another 20-25 years. I have been reflecting in recent months on the purpose, my desired purpose, for this time in my life. I am still in the process of creating those intentions; several streams of intentions really. I love life and want to live it fully.
Tracy Chapman has a song that speaks to the possibility that heaven is here on earth. If so, why rush on? If not, in someone else’s words … heaven can wait.
Thanks for the rock and roll reference. .. I ‘ll be singing. .. knock, knock, knocking on heavens door. Hope no one answers today.
Audrey — “I love life and want to live it fully.” You and I have the same mantra! 🙂
I too am sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. My dad died of brain cancer when I was 16 but I still feel his spirit around me. For example I know his spirit was here on the 40th anniversary of his death – I heard (not saw) him – he was here to offer me some advice for that time. I still miss him and my late mom. The 50th anniversary of his passing comes up this November and I’m expecting another dramatic visit or at least a special message from his spirit.
As for knocking on heaven’s door, when I do I have lots of choice words for the Almighty. But having said that, like some of the other commenters I still have a lot I want to accomplish. I already have three books published but want to write and publish more. I want to spend more time with my family and close friends. Then there is my garden and all those books by other authors I want to read, etc. etc..
You post also reminded me of something else I am trying to do right now – kick out all the unimportant and irritating people and things in my life and concentrate on the important. Maybe I can then stop my litany of “I have too much to do” and a lot of it isn’t important.
Sharon — I wish you well on streamlining your life so you can “concentrate on the important.” That sounds like a wonderful goal and I have every confidence in YOU!
Its comforting to think of our loved ones in a safe and happy place, especially if there has been suffering.
Finding peace, no matter where or what it looks like, must be heaven-like.
Val — I agree with you wholeheartedly!
The idea of heaven seems highly unlikely to me.
It seems very probable to me that death is just that – the end – no more, no more trace of me there than there was before my conception.
And 5 years ago I accepted the possibility of death in a way that I hadn’t before.
And I remain a stand for postponing the day of death as long as possible – billions of years if possible, and I get how improbable that seems to most, and it seems rather improbable to me, and it is still a possibility, as long as I am breathing.
Somehow it seems more likely that I live a billion years, than there is a heaven, and being realistic, neither has a very big probability.
And I’m no saint, and I know many who behave far worse than I far more frequently.
It is a very strange thing, this thing called life.
It is a very strange thing being human, having a body made of trillions of cooperating cells, existing in a world with billions of other people, some small fraction of whom are actually attempting to be fully cooperative at the highest of levels, and having a brain that has spawned a mind that does what this one does.
Ted, your scope still knocks me out, but I can no more doubt you than I can doubt the formation of clouds. Although it’s all a crap shoot, I’m still putting my money on the Man. He’s pulled my fat out of the fire too many times for me to doubt His Existence either.
To me, it seems fairly clear that what most people interpret as “The Man” is actually their own subconscious processes. The computational complexity of our subconscious minds is just so much greater than our consciousness that it really can seem like it is all knowing and all powerful.
It seems clear to me why most people think of this as god, and it doesn’t seem that way to me.
Our brains have thousands of trillions of synapses, each capable of complex judgements, each firing about 100 times per second. The computational complexity of that is really difficult to get any sort of handle on. We are, each and every one of us, the most amazingly powerful entities.
And for the most part, what most limits us is our own beliefs, our own unwillingness to accept how powerful we are, how cooperative we are, how abundant the universe we find ourselves in can be.
It seems that for the most part, the patterns of belief that come generally under the title of “culture” dominate, and keep the vast majority out of the habit of seriously questioning and testing the commonly held “truths” of culture (particularly the idea of truth itself). We find ourselves in a culture dominated by the values derived from markets and money – which values are ultimately based in scarcity. Anything universally abundant in a market system has zero market value, whatever its human value may be – just think of oxygen in the air – arguably the single most important thing to each and every one of us, but of zero market value. When scarcity is zero, market value is zero. Markets cannot deal with universal abundance. Markets cannot and will not naturally deliver universal abundance. We now have the technology to deliver universal abundance of all the essentials of life, but market based (scarcity based) thinking prevents it happening.
It seems clear to me that all cultures have developed useful approximations to understandings that have served those cultures well in times past. It also seems clear that we are now in a time of such rapid, and exponentially increasing change, that we all need to be questioning all things on a fairly regular basis.
And to me, some things are consistent, and seem likely to remain so. It seems that the value of cooperation will always trump that of competition, provided that cheats are detected and punished appropriately (neither too harshly nor too gently, just sufficiently to remove all benefit they gained from cheating plus a bit more, but not too much more). Anyone who shows high risk of being a direct threat to life must be restrained, until that threat is mitigated in some reliable fashion. Just a few basic things like that, and we can all get along in our amazing diversity. Lin Ostrom recently won the Nobel prize in economics for demonstrating precisely this, but she didn’t phase it in quite that way (almost certainly wouldn’t have gotten the Nobel prize if she had 😉 ).
Hi Sandi – I’ve had that out of body feeling experience 3 times. There is some really interesting research on exactly what causes it, and basically it seems to be when there is not enough resources to keep the senses operating, but the consciousness is still demanding awareness – the model of reality that brain generates (our experiential reality) can “drift”. Quite a weird experience.
Ted — I love getting glimpses into your mind. And while I don’t completely understand how they work, I always appreciate the similarities and the differences 🙂
Really sorry to hear about your dad. My dad died almost exactly 20 years ago (will be 20 years in 30 days). My mum died 2 years later. Both losses hurt emotionally. And the pain has eased with time, and I still think of them often.
I’m so very sorry for the loss of your dad, Laurie. When my father died it was comforting to me, too, to think of him at peace after his final years of trial and illness. *hugs*
Barbara — Thank you for your warm condolences.
Barbara — Thank you so much 🙂
Laurie, you know I’ve shared with you my close brush with walking through that last Earthly portal, when after an emergency surgery to stem a massive hemorrhage, I found myself out of my body and literally free as a bird, unencumbered by a traumatized body and all mortal cares and woes. From that moment on I have never feared what we call Death, death of the body and it’s functions is certainly not death of the Soul. While the transition itself may not occur under the best of circumstances, it too, is only a passage, there lies a end to that as well. As a practicing Christian I have no doubt or fear of an Afterlife, “For in My Father’s house are many mansions” and I hope mine is next to yours!
Sandi — Amen siSTAR! 🙂
So sorry to hear that your father passed away, Laurie. When parents pass away, we feel ourselves poised at the brink of mystery. I too love the image of home, one that really resonated with me as I wrote the epilogue to my memoir as well as one that Jesus used as he bid farewell to his disciples. HOME, one of the most beautiful four-letter English words. Second only to LOVE.
Shirley — I love your experiential observation: “When parents pass away, we feel ourselves poised at the brink of mystery.” Indeed. Yes, indeed!
So sorry for your loss…I don’t feel my time on earth is done but that is not my place to decide…I take the view that grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home…God’s grace is so amazing! x
EuropasIceWolf — Amen siSTAR! 🙂
Just had to tell you something 🙂 I was out in town when I read your post and shortly afterwards on the way home what did I hear being finely sung by a great young artist at a local social venue? “Knock knock knocking on heaven’s door!!!” It stopped me in my tracks given your post! Stopped everyone else too lol he sang it beautifully accompanied by his guitar 🙂 xx
EuropasIceWolf — Ohhhh, I’m so glad you came back and shared that with me. How doggon cool is that?! 🙂
It was awesomely amazingly cool Laurie!! Quite bowled me over lol just had to share it with you albeit a little later than planned; )
Laurie I’m sorry to hear about your dad. Readiness to knock on the door…every moment I live is a moment of preparation. I’m sure someday I may say yes, but there is so much still here to experience. Part of that experience is overcoming myself and that path is still quite long.
Lana — “…every moment I live is a moment of preparation.” Words to live by, my friend. Words to live by. 🙂
I’m sorry for your loss, Laurie. When our loved ones graduate to the next level, we are left behind here, still in school. And we miss them.
Tiny — Thank you so much for your condolences.
Laurie, this is the first I heard of your father’s passing. I extend to you my deepest and heartfelt condolences at this terrible time. I am at a loss for words.
Sam — Thank you so much for your warm condolences. I appreciate YOU.
Laurie, so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. He was outside you, and now he’s fully inside you, perhaps. Wondering what he’ll share with you from the inside… Blessings and love.
Kathy — I like the way you think! 🙂