Heaven vs. Hell – and who lives where?

IMG_1267One evening last week as we drove along in Splenda the mini-minivan, I made the children disengage from Minecraft in order to observe the beauty of the sunset. I’ve lived in Florida now for nearly 20 years, and I still never tire of the cloud formations, particularly around the gloaming. “Gloaming” is a fabulous word derived from the Old Middle English word meaning “to glow,” and it refers to twilight, or dusk. You should try to use it in a sentence soon.

The Tyrant looked up and gasped, and I mean that quite literally. She gobbled up a huge amount of air and then just held it. “IS THAT-” she exclaimed. “COULD IT BE?” She gasped again. “COULD THAT BE HEAVEN?”

Hot Firefighter Husband almost drove off the road. I had to watch his mouth very carefully to make sure he didn’t verbalize his thoughts, which were something like, “There is no God. There is no heaven. There’s only sports, politics, scotch, and death.” But he couldn’t talk anyway because he was laughing too hard.

“I don’t know if it’s heaven,” I said. “But it’s certainly as pretty as heaven would be.” IF IT EVEN EXISTED. But I didn’t add that last part because I want to let my kids have dreams until at least puberty. Also, a similar incident had occurred to me when I was about the Tyrant’s age – I had fallen asleep in the car, woke to the see the sunset, and felt certain I was glimpsing heaven, a place I knew I would never go because I had chewed gum in Sr. Bush’s science class. It doesn’t seem right that she called herself Sr. Bush, does it?

“WOW,” said my girly, in awe.

“It might not be heaven,” said the Pterodactyl, because he doesn’t mind killing dreams. “It might be the Underworld.”

And Husband and I were all, WHAT? What does this kid know about the Underworld, which also does not exist, unless you’re referring to living with the Pterodactyl and certainly has no place in a discussion among darling children.

“And that perfectly describes the difference between our youngest kids,” Husband said. One envisions heaven, and the other assumes hell.

The glimpsing of heaven has triggered all kinds of interesting questions from the Tyrant, none of which I answer directly. Who lives up in heaven? Do dead people live there? Can heaven people fly? And my favorite: If dead people go to heaven, does that mean God is dead? I give vague answers like, Dead people turn into love that you keep in your hearts, and Wouldn’t it be cool to fly? and Well, God isn’t dead, exactly, but – HOLD ON, I need to take this call. Image

So last week, she made a Thanksgiving card for me, and in it, she reported that she’s thankful for….drum roll….God. “Why are you thankful for God, honey?” I asked.

“Because he builded our cities,” she said. “He invented our walls, and our windows, and stuffed animals. He even invented hummus.”

All I could say was, “Oh.”


1 response to Heaven vs. Hell – and who lives where?

  1. CarolLHarris says:

    Excellent report! Sometimes it takes drastic events for us to pare our lives down to the essentials. Simplicity can indeed be freeing and beautiful. Best Wishes!

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