Originally published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 05:59a.m.
The other morning, my wife and I were discussing the concept of heaven and what we might expect if our final flight lands there.
She raised one disturbing specter in particular, saying it might be very crowded there. After all, folks from all of history will be in that one place. If there’s no cut off point for admittance, all the best seats were probably taken long ago, resulting in long lines to all the major attractions.
Not only that, but standing cheek by jowl with centuries of the deceased will make finding anyone nearly impossible. How, for example, will I make contact with Aunt Gert who passed away in 1967? Does she have a cell phone number I can dial? A beeper I can call?
How will I know she even reached her heavenly destination? Maybe an electronic alert is sent to family members telling them that another relative has checked in at St. Peter’s reception room: Alert, nephew Wil is waiting at gate seven. All relatives please show up there to collect him during the hours of 8 to 5. Be prompt. For the sake of appearances, we can’t have nephew Wil loitering around the waiting area.
Assuming that Aunt Gert knows I’ve arrived in reception how will she recognize me or I her? Won’t we both look vastly different than we did in 1967?
Will each of us be young and healthy or gray and cadaverous as we probably did when we exited life’s stage? Since heavenly residents are supposed to be spiritual and not corporal beings, I won’t recognize her by the favorite floral print dress that she used to wear. She won’t even be sporting that little gold harp necklace I gave her on her birthday in 1963.
By the way, if golden harps aren’t allowed in heaven, what are the chances I’ll get to wear my favorite pleated cowboy shirt with the ivory snaps?
How about transportation? If there are throngs everywhere, how will we get from one place to another safely? Even if we float from cloud to cloud, there must be a lot of bumping into fellow floaters. What if medical care is needed after two folks collide? Does a spiritual being ever need stitches? Would a sling be of any help?
There’s yet another potential problem with everyone from history being in heaven. If I find I have an Uncle Ahkrom from the 4th century, how will I communicate with him? What if he speaks Latin or Greek, or Aramaic or Syriac, or Coptic or Punic or Celtic or Germanic? I have enough anxiety controlling my participles in English! I don’t need to be challenged by tri-lateral juritical mundeforms in some ancient tongue! Who decides which language is spoken up there, anyway?
Are there pockets in heaven? If a spiritual being doesn’t have to maintain a closet full of tasteful and period-appropriate garments for seasonal, casual and formal wear, how does a being carry keys, loose change, business cards, pepper spray or...lint?
I’m just not sure we should be willing to rush into this heaven thing without more information such as where do we meet the shuttle that departs for heaven or for the other place? What if we walk into the wrong shuttle car by accident?
To ease my sense of apprehension, I spoke with Luiz, a neighbor here in downtown Chino Valley. Rather than providing soothing counsel, he mocked me. His advice was to stop the silliness and to move on with my life here on earth.
Neighbor Luiz is no longer my spiritual adviser.
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