Is there a heaven?

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 10, 2003

Most everyone wants to think so. Otherwise we’re born, live, work, struggle, then die and are buried. Since dead is dead it’s hard to conceive of anything following that.

In all religions we hear of the afterlife. I sure hope it’s better than the one we went through. It’s rumored to be, well, heaven. We use the word as we mean to show a fantastically wonderful life after we die. That’s a pretty steep price to pay. Who ever wants to die? I feel there was something wonderful left behind and I didn’t get it or do it. I’d been cheated. To whom do I complain? See what I mean?

I attended parochial school since father (mine) wanted his girls safe from the world’s wickedness. I looked for it but never found it.

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I had a nun who explained every world or religion mystery with this reply to your question, &uot;Don’t you worry about it. When you die and go to heaven, God will explain it to you.&uot;

Fine and good, but supposing I don’t make heaven, what then? Her only answer, &uot;Of course you’ll make heaven.&uot; Actually she couldn’t bring herself to say Satan gets his enrollment and Sister couldn’t bring herself to say Satan’s homestead – hell. I think she’d bite her tongue off before she’d say it.

Now, how can we believe in a hell and seem to know about it and not much about a heaven? Firstly, no one ever made it to heaven and came back to tell of it. So how do we know it’s there? How do we know it’s above? Do the clouds part to let you in? Do they have seasons hot and cold.

My nun always said when all family members died they meet again in heaven. Since I’ve spent my life questioning everything I can’t stop here. So here’s my question. Take the population of the world. You can never imagine the number. Nor the number who died. Where is God going to put all the good people who died? How big is heaven? Is a summer (hot, but nothing like that place) or cold enough to ski?

Dying and burial things about decay so complete there is nothing left – just horrible odor. Can’t get into heaven smelling. So we’re told a soul emerges and that goes to heaven. That’s a change, so how do we look now? How will our family find us to join us? St. Peter handles the gate into heaven plus the big book of names – see him.

As to the soul we get to be? This is a bit tough for me to accept. A soul to me would be a shadowy thing floating, no body. How do we tell male or female then? Must have faces. I’d like to look like Helen of Troy. Not keen on name though. How about Nancy of Troy? Without bodies there’s no way of choosing a male friend. Can’t say, &uot;What a build.&uot; They all look alike.

I’ve just decided. I’m not going!

Florence Arena is a resident of Hillcrest Retirement Center and a regular News-Herald columnist.