Friday, January 11, 2013

Visiting Paradise...

I used to live in Paradise for a time. I migrated there from the cement jungles of Oakland back in the 70s. My son was born in Paradise, which is a little ironic since he's been in "paradise" for almost 20 years. But I digress..

The other day I picked up my Mom and we headed for this little mountain community in Northern California. She needed an outing and I knew Paradise boasted a couple of yarn shops that I wanted to explore.  It was a gray day and the drive up the Skyway brought back a lot of memories of trips back down the hill to Chico, aka civilization. Paradise is known to be a retirement community, so living there in my young adult years was less than ideal. But on this day with my Mom, we found it rather charming. The town has grown up...Safeway, CVS (go figure), loads of antique shops, and of course two yarns shops. But again , I digress...

As I drove through town, I wondered why the name Paradise - perhaps the city fathers thought the countryside was a little slice of Heaven. At the time that I lived there as a young mother with a toddler, a newborn and sporting a bad marriage, it was not paradise or anything close to Heaven. I wonder, was it the first snowfall in the winter, the Fall color of the poplars, or the soft mountain breeze in the pines that made it heaven on earth for the first settlers of Paradise?

It's funny how we humans conjure up ideas and images about what Heaven might be. It seems there is a never ending stream of people with near death experiences. Just yesterday Katie had some guy (Eben Alexander) who wrote a best selling book Proof of Heaven, so just like everyone else, I was sucked into watching the show just to see what his "proof" actually was. He had been in a coma for many months with meningitis and though he remembered nothing of his illness, he remembered every detail about his trip to Heaven.  His version involved flying on a giant butterfly with a mysterious youg woman whom he did not know. Later, when he finally hooked up with his biological mother after recovering from his illness, he saw a photo of his biological sister, now deceased, and recognized her as the woman on the butterfly with him soaring around in Heaven. He had never seen her in life  nor even knew that she existed. And that was his "proof".  I guess I will have to read his book to make sure I have that summary right, but that's what I got out of the short segment on Katie's show.

As a Christian, I have my own ideas about Heaven, but most of my conjured images don't involve flying around on a butterfly.  The Bible teaches us that we can't even imagine the riches that are in store for us in the hereafter, but we are taught that all of them involve being with God - "absent from the body, present with the Lord". 

Jesus was big on eating, so in my world, Heaven involves a marvelous feast where everyone I know is seated around a gigantic table filled with sumptuous foods, sharing laughter and love. They have saved a place for me at the table. My senses are heightened and I am perpetually in awe of the beauty surrounding me. I'm never cold. I walk with Jesus and we chat. I win at golf. I can sing like Celine. I am never afraid.

But let's be real - no one knows...really! So if Eben is indeed correct, Jesus, then I want a giant Cecropia Moth to ride, or one of those Avatar flying thingies...you know how I love roller coasters.  But if my version is right, then make sure You bring that special wedding feast wine. Now that's a Paradise I can hang my hat on!!

 
 

 
 Laurel.  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him." 1Cor 2:9

2 comments:

  1. Since Jesus will be in Heaven there shouldn't be a shortage of wine...or bread...or fishes...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh we have no idea but when it is my time I look forward to finding out. HUG B

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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