I read a post today written by the Unknown Buddhist, Pass the Hamm’s. It is an entertaining post about residents in a retirement home discussing what it will be like in Heaven. Will there be Hamm’s beer? If not, why go? And other such musings.
But what stuck with me was the questions about what will we do when we get there? One retiree in the post comments, ““What will we do in Heaven? Do we just sit and sing wonderful songs to God? If we do, that could get tedious. I mean, singing for the first thousand or so years sounds great, but that third thousand … man, that will suck. I’d probably go to God and say, “Got anything else?””
Admittedly I have had such thoughts myself. Heaven is proclaimed to be the most joyous experience we can ever have. But there are no specifics about the experience. We are left to ponder what it will be like and to question what we will do there. Will we float among the clouds and sing songs of praise? Will we constantly kneel before God in a persistent state of adoration? Will we traverse golden streets in between our heavenly mansions giving out high fives to other passers-by?
As the octogenarian in the post proclaims, “that could get tedious…got anything else?”
What will heaven be like if we don’t have concerts, restaurants, and family gatherings? Will heaven be all that joyful if I can’t hug my grandchildren? Or gossip humorous nonsense with my best friend? Or laugh until my sides hurt when my Aunt Betty cuts a fart at the family picnic so raunchy that the whole family is joking about the stench scattering even the flies away from the apple pie?
The author ends the post with a quote from Steve Jobs: “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
And there is the point I walked away with. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Maybe, our whole fascination and longing for heaven is not as much about eternal life with God, but just eternal life. We don’t want to die. The thought of ceasing to exist is terrifying. And perhaps we will accept any alternative to that, without giving much thought as to how actual or accurate the proposal may be.
My thoughts turn to the Gospel of Thomas and how Jesus implies that the Kingdom of God is a state of the self, inside us and around us. Maybe I just need to search for the most joyous experiences I can have in my life now and enjoy all the special people and events that make it worth living, and accept that all heaven may be is the bliss that I can feel in this lifetime.