“You oughta think about Heaven from time to time,” a one-hundred-two-year-old preacher told me once. “I mean really concentrate on it. It’ll make you feel good inside.”
The old man sat in his wheelchair, his voice sounded more like a forced whisper. He only had enough stamina for a few words at a time. Then, the nurse came in to lay him down for a nap.
Two decades later, I still think about what he said.
Firstly: I know Heaven is big. I’m uncertain how I know this, but I know it just the same. I’m not sure about gold-bricked highways and munchkin representatives of the Lollipop Guild. But I know Heaven’s larger than Texas—which took me a whole two days to drive across.
I also have it on good authority, that there is music in Heaven. One of my aunts had a near-death experience and claims she saw a string band playing “Little Brown Church In The Vale.” My uncle tells me he sang this song by her bedside while she had that experience.
Once, at a halfway house, a fifteen-year-old girl told me she thought Heaven would be a place, “where nobody hurts nobody, and everyone’s parents want them.”
A twelve-year-old boy named Bo, said, “Nah, Heaven’s just another name for summer.” I suggested Bo take up country songwriting. But as fate would have it, nine years later, he overdosed.
I hope God makes it an outstanding summer.
A few nights ago, I watched a baseball game at a bar. I asked the man next to me what he thought about Heaven. “Heaven?” he said, eyes glued to the game. “First thing I think about is sunshine. Don’t know why. I just think it’ll be really bright up there.”
The lady next to him added, “I think Heaven’s gonna be a place where we won’t have to worry about paying any bills. You should’a seen my power bill this month.”
It’s highway robbery, I know.
But I don’t believe life is all about paying utility bills and dying, neither do I think it’s about owning more shiny junk. To be honest, I don’t know what life’s about. Just when I think I have it figured out, the world changes the rules on me.
But I do wonder what Heaven is like. In fact, I close my eyes at night to concentrate on it. I see friends who’ve died. And Daddy, out for an evening stroll. I see big trees, porch swings, busy fairgrounds, and secluded fishing holes.
That little old man was right.
It makes you feel good.