Tuesday, May 29, 2012

HEAVEN

Lots of new-talk about Heaven has been inspired by a bestseller "Is Heaven for Real," by Pastor Todd Burpo, and just recently Time magazine grabbed on this topic.

Burpo, pastor of a church in Nebraska, a down-to-earth, do-everything man, wrote about son Colton, who almost died at age four, during emergency surgery, and told his daddy afterward, that he went o heaven.

What does one think, nowadays, about Heaven? Are your visions of heaven created by parents, grandparents, the church, bible stories, loving teachers or what?

What do you picture?

Maybe someone told you that death is "a long, long sleep." (Someone sang me a beautiful song that said that.) Or were you told that after you die you will reunite with beloved dead relatives? Perhaps you need a HEAVEN to inspire you to do good deeds, and thoughts of burning in HELL stop you, prevent you from doing ugly, selfish, unlawful things.

These are just my thoughts circling around, me wondering and wandering.

There are so many things to fear .-- fires, poisons, weather disasters, bombs, guns, nutty people, disease, corrupt officials, food and water shortages, and ... golly, there are so many things to put on my list.

When we're little, very, very young, we learn about death when we see a flower die, or find a dead bird on the ground. We learn ways not to think about death or talk about it or fear it. And that makes us fear it more. And fear, I think, is like a black blotch of ink spreading on a blotter.

I wrote a blog two years ago, about the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for 70 days in a mine, and suddenly, almost miraculously, saved. I knew from my own personal experience, that the miners had a new perspective -- a power they didn't have before the mine collapsed. Aside from becoming celebrities, which is a life-changing experience, there's a change in your spirit when you almost die.

I don't mean a scare, "Oh my God, I could have crashed into that car." When you almost die, but don't die, there's a new awareness, a loud, strong sense that this is MY LIFE.

It happened to me.

Six months after I'd recovered from a major automobile accident, all of a sudden I was convulsed with intolerable pain, and landed in an operating room. During the surgery my heart failed. I watched the doctors, I saw them above me trying to revive me with electric paddles.

Did I see light at the end of a tunnel? No. I saw white light over my head. I heard someone say my heart had stopped beating for five-and-a-half minutes. A doctor said I might be bedridden, there might be serious brain damage.

The fact is, I am not brain damaged, paraplegic, or bedridden. While I was recovering, still unable to walk without crutches, I decided -- yes, decided -- that I was going to dance at Lincoln Center. It took a lot of doing, and hours and hours of rehabilitation exercises. It seemed like a fantasy, but it kept me going.

Yep, I did dance at Lincoln Center, two sold-out performances.

No, I don't think I'll go to Heaven or Hell when I die. The fact is, I feel I have been in heaven. And I am writing about heaven, because I am still in heaven -- yes -- it IS heaven -- that I can dream up something I want to do and -- YAY -- go for it!
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