I have always struggled with the idea of heaven. It’s beautiful, okay. I’ll be happy there, I get it. I will understand things and get to be present with the glory of God, can’t wait. Still, I didn’t spend much time pondering these things. I imagined heaven would be beyond my hopes and dreams, so why waste time wondering about something that even St. Paul says can’t be described?
A recent experience changed my ideas about heaven. My daughter has the messiest room around. I haven’t seen the floor in years and sometimes I am afraid that if her friends go in there to see her, they may get lost and never come out! No, I’m not exaggerating, it’s that bad… or it was.
She was going to California for a few days with her dad, so I decided to surprise her by completely redoing her room. It was a huge project. It took me two days just to empty the tiny space. Then I painted it. Her boyfriend, her brother and I put together a loft bed for her and we redecorated the whole thing. Finally, I spent an entire day just folding and hanging her clothes. It was a gi-normous (as the kids say) job and I was exhausted at the end of it all. I looked around and was pleased with the end result. Every corner of the room was filled with something that she loved or that would give her pleasure.
We created two large affirmation boards for her, filled with letters and notes from friends and family who loved her. Her grandmother made her a pillow from silk that my grandmother had brought from Burma forty years ago. Her little sisters hot glued sea shells onto a lamp shade to enhance the sun and surf theme we had created. Her friend, Jenna, made a frame with pictures of the two of them and how their friendship had grown as they had. Love was crammed into every inch of that room and I grinned thinking of how much she would like it.
On the day she was supposed to come home, she had a little panic attack at the airport. She texted me and asked me to calm her down. I replied, and calmed her the best I could. I was smiling to myself the whole time. I couldn’t help but think that if she knew the room I had prepared, nothing would stop her from rushing home, not even the fear she was experiencing.
Suddenly, a Scripture verse burst into my head, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places…..I am going to prepare a place (a room) for you.” John 14:2, 3 I was filled with excitement at the thought. Is this what my Lord is doing for me this very moment? Does He wish to tell me that heaven is such a beautiful place for me, that if I knew what it was like there, that I would never fear my life here? Could He love me that much?
As a catechist we are responsible for teaching the faith to others. I am grateful that the Lord used this small moment to teach me a little about my own faith. I hope that I will have the grace to pass this lesson on to my students. God bless.