Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Death is just a nap before your tea party with God - Lucas Denzler, a very young man with a very wise old soul

A cousin on my deceased husband’s side passed away suddenly last week.  The gifts my husband left behind for me, are too numerous for a blog post.  It’d take a novel. One of them is the unconditional acceptance and love of a family whose hearts, larger than most, welcomed in my teen-aged daughter and I.   Although he has been gone for more than 14 years now, this family has kept us tucked into the fold, seamlessly integrating my son-in-law, and each granddaughter as one of their own.  Speaking from my own childhood and past experience, I know it does not take a blood line to be family.  I’ve often felt more supported, valued, and loved from those who didn’t share my DNA.  So, when we heard the news of Paula’s death, it was a no brainer to head up North and attend calling hours.  This phenomenal lady was born with cerebral palsy and spent her life in a wheel chair.  Don’t allow the apparatus that supported her body, and her medical disability fool you though.  I would place bets that her life was better lived in 54 years than a good majority of the population, handicapped by an inability to recognize life is meant to be lived full on, and the only thing stopping us, is fear, or the belief that we can’t. There were picture boards filled with her traveling, picnics, jet-skiing, at ballgames, playing games.... dancing eyes and joy vibrating from a crippled body that always tried, and a mind that refused to believe it was impossible.  Her mind won.  She lived it up! 

After visitation, the girls and I stopped next door at a local Friendly’s for comfort food and ice cream.  My oldest, always curious, granddaughter and I, got into a discussion about death.     She’d heard the comments at the Funeral Home.... Paula’s spirit  had moved from the confines of her broken body and wheelchair and she was now running in heaven.  Free at last and greeted by family and friends who had passed before.  I happened to echo those sentiments over our sandwiches and fries, adding,  “You know Alex, there are people who have claimed to have gone to heaven, and returned to tell their story.  They call those “near death experiences".  Those individuals have all said, they did not want to come back.”   I happened to know she is somewhat familiar with this proclamation, because this little seeker, asked for, and received, the book Heaven is for Real a few years ago.  This is the story of a little boy who clinically died, and had such an experience too.  So, why was she looking at me, horrified, and why was her response,  “If something happened to me, I wouldn’t want to stay in heaven. I wouldn’t really know anyone there.  My mom, dad, sisters, and friends are here.  I know I have family in heaven too, but I never met most of them and I haven’t gotten to do enough things yet.”  I wanted to tell her so many things to reassure her, while keeping it age appropriate. I wanted an easy and profound response to be in line with the Christian beliefs she is comfortable with to avoid even more confusion.  With those barriers in my mind, I found myself tongue tied.  So, I said very little and simply nodded in empathy as she explained that her earthly life was preferable to heaven. Lying in bed that night, I wondered what I would say to her if I spoke from my heart, laying aside the filters. What do I believe about death and life after?

Here is what I know in my own heart to be true...  Heaven is where we all came from to begin with, therefore, heaven is our true Home.  We’re just visiting here; spiritual beings, having a human experience. Our true nature is that energy, the soul.... infused with the Holy Spirit,  that lives in us and never dies. We are here to taste life, love, and friendship: give, learn, teach, and grow more beautifully into our spiritual skins.  This realm, simply, is both classroom as well as playroom. But, it's not Home.  We are here for a specific purpose as well.  It may be to change course, impact someone else’s path, invent or create, or even correct some karma.  And.... this, I know, is where it gets dicey for those of different faiths and beliefs.  Yet, for me, it is what I believe. I intuitively know this as a deep truth, FOR ME, and it gives me great peace.  I believe we are born again, and again, and again, reconnecting, intertwining, interchanging roles, with others: from our past, present and future.  As a child, (and I was a seeker even then) I sat in awe and witnessed the vastness of the Universe and heard about time and eternity,  I could not imagine a God who would allow us to live on earth, for a mere 70-80-90 years ( a blink)  and then it would be  time for permanent retirement,  lolly gagging in heaven.  Not my Creator.... always Creating, and Re-creating.  Rebirth simply makes sense to me... a recycling, like the seasons, birth, growth, death, renew. Meeting again, and again through all time.   That would certainly eliminate Alex’s fear of not really knowing anyone in heaven should her present life be cut short, but I am sure I won’t share that with her at this time and that’s all a much bigger blog post, for another day. 

What I would share with her, is how close heaven really is. 

My father passed away after a long journey into the depths of Alzheimer's Disease.  The one constant, even though his mind, recognitions, and perceptions were ever driving him into inner darkness, was his adoration of little ones.  The final months of his life, we were visiting him in the nursing home.  While I’m still unsure if his eyes even knew who we were, I'm convinced his spirit did.   His eyes lit up at the sight of Alex and he broke into smiles and laughter as she danced around him, teased, and played with him. Their love for one another and the obvious joy in each other’s company, needed no words.  A few weeks later, post his funeral, her mother and I were in the basement, taking care of some laundry.  Alex, was playing on the other side of the basement wall.  We heard her chattering away, laughing and talking.  Her momma asked, “Alex, who, on earth are you talking to?”  Her reply, “Grandpa.  He’s here!”   

Maybe she just needs a reminder.  Heaven can be found looking through the eyes of our hearts.  When we tear down the barriers of doubt and skepticism and construct a bridge of belief and faith, we see heaven is just over the horizon, out of sight, but still for real.   She used to be able to easily connect with it  when she was a very small child, fresh from His arms.  As the years pass amnesia sets in and blocks that connection.   Maybe that’s a good thing, our spirits  would be pining for Home while we are here on earth.  There is a penetrable mist that separates us from the loved ones who have passed before.   We simply need watch and listen with that eternal Holy piece of ourselves and reach beyond it.  It is right there that we will always find them.  

Death is just a nap.... A quick refresher, to prepare us for the biggest party of all--- our tea party with God.  Pinky finger out, Paula!