A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, April 08, 2005

Something to ponder over the weekend

So, last night, out of the blue, my four-year-old son starts asking me all these questions about heaven. I'm guessing they talked about the Pope dying in his pre-school class. Here are some of his questions:
  • Is there sun in heaven?
  • Do people have houses there?
  • Are there toys? Because if there are toys, I hope they have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don't have any of those.
  • What is great-grandpa doing in heaven?

    It's amazing where these types of questions can lead you when you discuss them with a child. The answer to the last question went something along the lines of, "Well, I'm guessing that great-grandpa is probably growing plants. That was one of his favorite things, growing things." To which he naturally replies, "So, you have to eat things in heaven?" Leaving me... where? "Well, yes, I guess so. But even if you don't have to eat in heaven, I think great-grandpa would be growing things because that was something he loved to do."

    And on. It was both fun and charming and difficult-- how to explain some of the coneptions I have of the after-life to someone with only four and a half years of life experience. I recommend it to everyone.

    Which leads to this: in light of Terri Schiavo and the Pope dying in the last few weeks, how do you picture the afterlife? What's heaven like-- and do you think everyone goes there? Most importantly:

    Do they have Mutant Ninja Turtles there?
  • Comments:
    You know the old joke about the man who dies and when he gets to heaven St. Peter is there to greet him, just like he had always heard? So St. Peter takes him in through the pearly gates, and immediately the man notices that there is a huge brick wall extending from the gate, and out and up into heaven as far as the eye can see. So St. Peter starts showing the man around heaven, shows him where the other protestants are hanging out in case he wants to chat with them. Shows him where to go to see his family who preceded him, and all the while the man can see this infinite brick wall extending into heaven, and he wants to ask about it. St. Peter shows the man where the Jews usually hang out, and the aetheists, too. Finally, St. Peter says he'll be on his way, and that the man should go and enjoy heaven, and the man decides to ask, so he says. "Thanks for the tour, St. Peter, but I have to ask. What's with the brick wall?"

    St. Peter chuckles and says, "Oh, don't worry about that. We built it so that the Catholics could think they're the only ones up here. They're alone on the other side."

    Why this joke? Because I think that heaven is what you want it to be. Nothing exists in this universe until we think that it does, so if we want heaven to be streets made of gold, and a mansion on a hill, it will be. We create heaven in our minds, and so it is.

    I'm also becoming more and more convinced that heaven is here on earth, and that the trick is to accept that, and live it as such.
    I'm with Andy there (recognized the nom de plume Jack)...especially the part at the end about heaven here on earth.

    But I also think that, yes there are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in heaven. In fact, I'd like to think that it's very nearly all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in heaven.
    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

    Who, when he had found one a pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

    Yes, I believe in heaven.
    Oh, yeah, there's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there. And pickup basketball.
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