Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts on Death. Or, Really, the Afterlife.

I have a good online friend named Lynn. We've known each other for more than 7 years now. We met on an Atkins Diet online community. She has offered me a lot of support and friendship over the years- especially when Teagan was an infant and I struggled with nursing. She's a vibrant, loving, compassionate, fun woman and I'm honored to know her. Last week, she left a comment on my Facebook page. I have an idea for a blog when you run out of material. Something that may turn into more than one post....but something I'd LOVE to hear your opinion on and read about from you. I would like you to share what you think death means in terms of where we go from there. And what your concept/vision/idea is of heaven and our afterlife. I'm searching deep these days...you might have my answer or my inspiration :) The first thing that comes to mind when I start to ponder my thoughts on the subject is that I don't fear death. I'm not seeking it out or anything. And death is certainly equated with sadness in most situations. But I think of death as part of life and as a homecoming. I believe that funerals, burial, and cremation are human creations for the sake of human comfort and closure. I believe that when I die, I will go to heaven. I believe that in heaven, I will be like a force of energy that can touch all of the loved ones who have passed before me. I believe that as that energy, I will realize the impact that I had on people in my lifetime. I believe that God's eternal kingdom is more infinite and undefined than what our human limits can comprehend. I believe that in death, I will understand the Truth. I believe that we will meet those who have hurt us. I believe in God's forgiveness of my sins and also of theirs. I believe that in our most pure forms, the hurts that were done as humans will be gone as they can't exist in heaven.

I believe that heaven has no definition of pain, of suffering, of hurt, of angst, of depression. I believe that the purpose of heaven is to focus the powerful, positive energy that grows with the adding of each soul. To focus it back to the life forms that God has created. I believe that as that energy grows, it eventually will spill over and that is when heaven and earth will become one. I believe that the positive energy forces in heaven help to deliver God's enduring love to humanity in the form of compassion, peace, joy, and so on. I think that the force of the energy of these pure souls guides even those who don't believe in God and can open hearts to His love. This is different from angels. I firmly believe that angels are very real. I believe that angels have a very specific purpose- part of God's workforce, if you will.

Those are my starting thoughts. Here's what I'm going to do today... I'm going to continue to edit this post. If anyone has questions, leave a comment. I don't have all the answers. I don't have all the questions. When it comes to solidly defining questions related to my faith, I pray before I start writing and then I just let it go. I almost feel like I'm channeling that energy, to a degree. I don't think it through or censor myself or go back and edit. I just pray and write.

I hope I did it justice, Lynn...

PART TWO:

Flartus, I've thought a lot about heaven vs hell. And I do believe in hell. But I've not found a desire to focus on who does or doesn't go to hell. I believe that God is compassionate and forgiving. I believe that those who truly repent, even at the last opportunity, are absolved of their sin. I believe that I'm going to heaven. And I believe that if I try to figure out who is going to hell or what kind of people will end up in hell, that I'm essentially judging others and I really strive to not be that kind of person. The devil doesn't really hit my radar much. I don't live my life in fear or distrust or concern about his trickery. I know my faith is strong and I live it and grow in it every day.

I also find it interesting when I hear other people having similar beliefs about what heaven will be like. I didn't grow up being taught this idea. I grew up thinking that heaven was an awesome place that was like earth, basically. Mansions and streets lined with gold and all that.

And I also believe that lots of people have lots of different ideas about what heaven is and what they need it to be. And that's ok, too.

PART THREE:

I was in the car, listening to The Diane Rehm show on NPR. The guest was Lisa Miller- talking about heaven and the history of the beliefs about heaven and what about hell and all that jazz.

Check it out here- you can even opt to listen to broadcast. Photobucket

I'm adding this to Shell's weekly carnival- Pour Your Heart Out.

9 comments:

Flartus said...

Wow, that's very similar to what I've often thought death is, though I haven't used the idea of "energy," just "essence" or "souls." But it's the idea that it is an existence beyond any physical limitations.

And I think that God is that body of energy comprising all the human souls that have passed. That God is of us, and we are of "him."

I, however, do not believe I am going to this heaven. I hope that I am, but I do not assume that I am that good a human...yet.

Now, according to Revelation (am I right?), only 144,000 will go to heaven. Do you think everyone becomes part of this energy? Even the truly evil? Miss Chef and I were talking about it, and I proposed that the pure "positive" of heaven couldn't exist without the edges of "negative." That the evil could be subsumed, and give richness to that energy.

And, of course, I believe all dogs go to heaven. :) Wouldn't be heaven without them!

Karen said...

Very interesting post, Liz.

I am always curious to read about other people's beliefs in the afterlife. While there are a few things that we see similarly, most of our beliefs on this topic are vastly different, and I can't help but be completely fascinated by that.

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

liked your thoughts on the energy part. i have no idea what it will be like and i don't think much about it either. all i know is that i will finally be with God and that's enough for me!

great post

Shell said...

I have no idea what Heaven will be like, other than truly being able to experience God's love and not having any worries.

What an amazing post! Thanks or linking up.

Aphrodite's Mortal Friend (ME) said...

I totally believe in Heaven and Hell- becuase I think in order to have good, evil has to exist as well. But I really don't like to think of death- it scares me. Anyway, now I am following you- hope you can stop by my place soon!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

I am not afraid to die. I totally believe in heaven. I am afraid of the pain and suffering if I should get sick as opposed to just dropping dead!

I just want to live until my girls grow up. That would be the most painful - to have them be without me.

Kim - In Search of Me in Mommy said...

I enjoyed reading this. It has made me think...cause I fear death. Not my death as much as the death of loved ones. I fear the saddness. The heartbreak. This post has made me think - in a really good way.

Teacher Tom said...

I think our conception of heaven is very similar, Liz. I sometimes believe that we actually visit the foothills of heaven in this life when we experience those moments (however brief) of perfect, desireless, selfless, connected love. I like to think that this is a little taste of heaven.

In college I worked as a cashier in a convenience store. We were all young men who worked late nights in shifts of two. We spent many hours alone together with nothing to do but talk. One of these guys was going to a bible college of some kind, planning to one day be a pastor. I told him I believed in heaven, but not hell and he simply couldn't grasp it. "How can there be heaven without hell?" he kept asking. My take away from that conversation was that we can't let ourselves get too attached to the dogma, we each have to find our own way to understand god. I sometimes think that this is his greatest gift to us.

Lynn Freeman said...

Liz,

I have so many thoughts percolating in my head about what you've written now but I need to process them. I'm surprised about your "concept" of what we become in the afterlife. I'm also surprised about your thoughts on hell because they're almost an equal subject in my world these days. I think perhaps if I focussed more on my Christian beliefs and looked at it from that point of view, I might be more inclined to not think much of the hell stuff and focus more on what heaven and my life after looks like. I need to think about this more and what you've written has given me pause for thought. And that's what I was after when I asked you for your opinion on it, so in that respect you've helped greatly. I really want to try and focus on this subject from that perspective and see where it takes me. Because one thing that I can't get my head around is the attitude or "non fear" of death. Because that's what I struggle with so greatly right now that is having such a huge impact on my life and how I'm living it and the quality of it. Perhaps if I can get to the place where you are with that, things would change significantly. Let me percolate....I'll get back to ya. And...thanks friend :)