1 Jesus Lane
When I was younger, I used to draw pictures and write letters to my Grandma (she passed away when I was 8). And when I was done, I’d fold them up, put them into my own little envelope and address them to her, where I thought she would be staying, in heaven. I was sure she was there, walking its brightly-lit, Jerusalem-like streets and literally, partying with Jesus, the angels and saints, and all the others who had gone before her.
So I suppose my perception of heaven was formed as a sort of country, a region, a physical kingdom – a magical place where we could all meet Jesus and be healed of our sufferings. And this gives me peace, the solace that everyone finds in the fact that the deceased are “in a better place”.
But that’s it.
I’m happy that despite the sadness of leaving this life behind, when we do have to leave, there is a place for us where joy overflows and grace abounds. But I don’t necessarily want to go there. My human weakness, coloured by worldliness and secularism, keeps me from aspiring towards the “everlasting life” that God promises. I want to live forever (in this world, that is). But really, can you truly say Jesus > world?
Surely, I’m not saying that we should all aspire towards death. But in an ideal world, we would all aspire towards heaven. Wouldn’t we?
Last week, I was speaking to a friend about a similar topic and she expressed that given a hypothetical situation where she was terminally ill, she would rather be dead than a burden to her loved ones. While I couldn’t bear such a thought, I somehow understood where she was coming from. And in this way, heaven is seen as an escape – a way to relieve not just our loved ones of the weight of taking care of us, but also our own consciences of the guilt of “imposing” such a task on them.
But that is missing the point.
Perhaps it is not heaven – the afterlife – that we should all aspire towards, but Jesus. This way, we are not looking towards death, but towards living a life that is pleasing to God in the hopes that death will bring us to the fulfilment of meeting him in person.
I have always wondered what the afterlife would be like.
But more so, I have always wondered how I could love Jesus more.