Enjoying My Human Experience

Momservation: Innocence is what keeps children close to God. Perspective is what brings adults back to His side.

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Sometimes I wonder what Heaven is like.

Like when I hear children giggling—the unrestrained joy coming straight from their souls, unweighted by worry. I think, “This must be the sound of Heaven.”

Or when I’m walking my dog in the early morning mist along the contentedly placid American River—new green grass bent by the dew and animal tracks, barren winter trees slumbering along the lazy dirt path waiting to awaken with the first buds and blossoms of spring, the peaceful solitude broken only by the happy chatter of assorted birds jubilantly coexisting. And I think, “This must be what it looks like in Heaven.” winter river

Waking up to bacon wafting into my bedroom making me feel cared for; walking into a coffee shop and suddenly feeling calmer; popcorn at the movie theatre making me feel simple joy; a whiff of cinnamon making me melt with pleasure; and my nose to the downy soft head of a newborn baby makes me believe, “This is what Heaven must smell like.”

Biting into a warm chocolate chip cookie; warm soup on a cold day; cold watermelon on a hot day; unable to decide if the batter or the cooked brownie is its more delicious form; apple pie in autumn; chocolates from a lover; Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by family and friends—I can’t help but think, “This is what Heaven must taste like.”

When my friends’ faces light up with joy to see me; when my family can’t resist putting their arms around me; when my husband and my children can’t imagine their day ending without my kiss; experiencing the unconditional love of dogs, cats, and children I am certain, “This is what Heaven must feel like.”

When I walk on the beach, the sand in my toes, the wind in my hair, the salty-air in my nose and on my lips, the crashing of waves in my ears, the infinity of water disappearing into the horizon, I think, “Yes, this is His church. God is here.”

When I walk through the forest leaves crunching under my feet, the wind singing through the trees, the scent of pine rejuvenating my soul, the sweat of a glorious mountain hike salting my lip, the vastness of the forest swallowing me up I think, “Yes, this is His cathedral. God is here.”

My slice of Heaven: Yosemite and my family

My slice of Heaven: Yosemite and my family

And when I stood on the edge of the Yosemite Valley for the first time, its glorious granite cliffs reflecting the sunlight, majestic waterfalls disappearing into the lush canopy of the forest, the Tuolumne River gliding through the breathtakingly beautiful valley, my soul sang in recognition: “This is the gates of Heaven.”

There are days I don’t know if I believe in Heaven. Recognizing that we are a spec in the infinite universe, it’s hard to imagine there is only one place that beckons us after this life. But just as an ant can’t possibly fathom there is neighborhood beyond its anthill; a city; a state; a country; a continent; a world; a universe beyond its existence—it would be foolish as humans to think that just because we can’t fathom it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I don’t know if I believe in Hell. But certainly there is Hell on this earth—suffering; genocide; murder; rape; atrocities against children, animals, the weak, the helpless; debilitating and incurable illness; killing in God’s name; loss of those we love.

So maybe Heaven and Hell are actually right here on this earth. Right now. Maybe in this vast universe this is our one time to have a human experience. Maybe this moment is our gift from God.

Only death holds the answer. But why wait? I choose life. And I plan on enjoying this human experience. Because if this is Heaven—won’t you be sad if you missed it?


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