In the final chapter of my book, I talk about God making us in His image – as creative beings. Along those lines, a poem that came from a combination of reading a great book on the history of Heaven, and some time in prayer:
I was captured late one evening, watching Leno with my wife.
Feeling fine, and looking forward to his guest.
I remember getting lost in admiration as she yawned,
and I knew my wife was needing to get some rest.
I would never again tell her, that I was filled with love,
For her presence, for her comfort, and her heart.
As I was captured somewhere else, no moments to look back-
No telling her that I was to depart.
But sadness wasn’t pressing in on me, no mourning tears in my eyes.
The rush of “other-ness” was close at hand.
In all my years of praying, reading scripture, and imagining,
Nothing prepared me for how I left this land.
From dreaming into consciousness – I was born again, again.
Like going underwater, or emerging from a tent.
From darkness into light, and from parched land into flooded-
I didn’t so much as “go” as I was “sent”.
The atmosphere was buzzing like I had never seen,
My eyes struggled to bring images into sight.
Slowly from the haze, clouded warmth, and all the “other”,
There began to make some sense of overwhelming light.
I was being led by someone, who knew my name quite well.
I tried to look, but they moved like rushing wind.
In an instant, I felt assured of forgiveness-
Granted release and pardon for my sins.
We arrived somewhere I’d never seen in all my years of thinking,
Of dreaming and of wondering what comes next-
Surrounded by what I somehow knew were 72 virgins,
In the midst of a giant gardening complex.
He saw my confused and surprised facial expression, as I took in my surroundings
I was forced to change position into sitting.
I saw a grin sneak up upon his face,
He pulled my hand with a wink, and said, “I’m only kidding!”
In an instant we were surrounded by a giant grassy field,
Guitar was strumming somewhere distantly.
I was guided to top of the largest mountain around,
And at the top, a simple Bodhi Tree.
But once again, he saw my face had not expected this
He asked me to describe what I was thinking.
I found myself at a loss for words, I looked back and saw Him smile,
As the tree and the mountains started shrinking.
The physical world I was used to began to disappear from sight,
And I wondered what might still remain in store.
When suddenly we were reclined sipping Arnold Palmers
As the ocean waves crashed upon the shore.
“Is this Heaven?” I asked him. First, He took a sip,
And looked over his sunglasses silently.
He gestured up the beach at my ancestors lounging
As a sailboat passed us by He said, “You tell me.”
“I guess I didn’t know what to expect exactly”
I said to him not knowing what to say.
“I just figured as long as I was in your presence
Whatever that was like, I’d want to stay.”
He nodded his approval, like he’d heard it all before,
And grabbed my hand gently one more time-
We ascended and ascended until my head was spinning wildly,
And I didn’t think there was much more we could climb.
He sat me down upon a cloud, the curb of golden highways-
Angels strumming in the distant shining sky.
I looked to see a mansion with my nameplate on the mailbox,
He looked at me, as if expecting a reply.
I wept without preparing, I worshiped at his feet.
I sang every song that I had ever heard.
At several points I thought of telling him what I was thinking,
But every time I found myself absurd.
Finally when time had passed, he gently dried my tears,
And gave me time to rest my tired eyes.
Letting go of what I wanted to say, I found some words,
And waiting for me to speak, he helped me rise…
“I have a lot of things” I said, “That I think Heaven should be,
Most come from books, and pictures and stories told.
Still some are things that I want to experience, but now that I’m here,
I’m not sure that I’m buying what I’ve been sold.”
He flashed a loving smile at me, as a Father would his child
With a look that assured me I was up to the task.
As I looked at Him, all I could say was “What did you have planned?”
His smile growing large, he said, “I’m glad you asked…”
1 Corinthians 2:9 “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”
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