Do you believe in Heaven?
Do you believe there is a place … an experience … an existence … in store after your life ends?
If so, you’re in the majority.
The latest film directed by Clint Eastwood addresses this most foundational question of human existence. And while this slow-paced, thoughtful, and ultimately comforting story doesn’t really answer any of these profound questions, it reinforces what a reported 74% of the human population believe. Specifically, that there actually is an experience we have in store after we leave this world. There actually is a Hereafter.
Yes … three-quarters of the world believes this.
Of course, this also means that fully one-quarter of all of us do not believe.
To me this is a troubling statistic.
It means that a lot of people go through their lives with nothing to look forward to past our time here on Earth. The must devote their lives … a span of time that is by any measurement infinitesimal, to finding any joy that they can. And sadly, for a great many people, life is not a particularly enjoyable time on the whole and the pursuit of happiness is burdensome.
If you’ve read me in the past, you know that I’m a bit of a worrier … and you know that at times I question the meaning of life. I really do wonder exactly why we’re here, but one thing I do not question is what happens once we’re not here.
A lot of people these days look at it from a different perspective. They have no doubt about what happens when we die. They are certain that when we are dead, we are simply gone.
Yep … a cosmic switch flips and that’s it …
I find the concept that one day a switch will simply flip and I’ll be gone forever, to be extremely depressing. If I believed this, I’d probably create the proverbial “bucket list.” I would probably spend my remaining time trying to do as much as possible of the things that human beings think are important.
But, I don’t have a bucket list and here’s why …
When my Mother was in the hospital and was “actively dying”, I wondered what she was experiencing. I wondered what she was feeling … what she was seeing.
My Dad and I talked about this and asked ourselves if she could see Heaven from where she was, as she slowly drifted away from us that long afternoon and evening last March. We pondered what things might be like for her while her body gave in to the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease.
Of course, we were sad for ourselves. It’s human nature to cling to the things we have come to love and not to want to part with them.
But, we were happy for her, because we knew Mom was not afraid to die. And subsequently, we weren’t afraid for her to die.
And while we couldn’t know for sure, we agreed that at some point in the process, she could see Heaven and the thought gave us comfort.
Like the majority of the people on Earth, I believe in a hereafter. I firmly believe that there is life after death and I am convinced that there is a more to our existence than that which happens during our all-too-brief time here.
For this reason, I am not afraid to die. And I have no “bucket list” …
I firmly believe in the Hereafter and I do not fear my own death. I am in no hurry. I will not rush it. But, I will anticipate it and look forward to it when my time arrives.
Until then, I guess I’ll probably continue to be a bit of worry-wart and I’ll still ponder the meaning of why we’re actually on Earth for the time that we are.
But, I’ll try to be happy and I’ll try to make other people happy as well. Because I’ve been told that’s the real reason why we’re here.
… and it sounds like as good a reason as any.