Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Paradise Declined

When somebody dies, why do people say that person has gone to "a better place"? Could somebody please tell me what this "better place" is? Is it a land of milk and honey where there is no pain or suffering, only angels serenading you with their harps? Is it a place where you can sit "on the right hand of God" and bask in his glory? These just don't appeal to me at all.

I have yet to hear a description of heaven or an afterlife that's better than what I have now. There is no better place than this one, with my husband and my kids.

If I were living in a famine-stricken land somewhere and had to watch my kids waste away from malnutrition, walk 30 kilometers each day to get a bucketful of clean water for them, and live in fear of warlords coming to slaughter my husband, rape me, and force my kids to become child soldiers, then yes, maybe I'd think of an afterlife, no matter how vague, as a better place to go.

But I have a comfortable life, a really nice guy for a husband, and healthy, happy kids. Sure, I could do without the cancer. I could even do with a few tweaks to Tony's and the kids' habits and behaviors. But for the most part, I have everything I need and want.

After I die, please don't say I've gone to a better place. No place is better if Tony and the kids aren't there. I don't want to be with God. I want to be with my family.

Tell me. What do you imagine heaven or the afterlife to be? What does it look like? What will you do there for eternity? I'm curious. Maybe I just don't have much of an imagination.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,

I've been reading your blog for a while. I'm one of Tony's ex colleague's girlfriend so it's a bit of a distant connection. The stuff you write about is always such food for thought so thanks for that.

I'm a Christian and this question about what heaven is like is something I think about all the time too. I'm very happy in this life and can't imagine what could be better.

What I do think though is that 10 years ago I thought I had it good but then I went on to get a better job, fall in love with someone who is so perfect for me I had no idea such compatibility existed, experienced greater things. All these measures of happiness are things I can conceive with my own understanding so even though I have no idea what could possibly make me happier, I trust that God does.

He knows I'm not a fan of streets paved with gold and I'm definitely not cut out for choir singing all day, so I don't take those things literally. I do think heaven is perfect though I don't know what that perfection might be. I do know it can't be boring because then it wouldn't be perfect to me.

Anonymous said...

Do people who believe in an after life, think that when their life expires, they will experience a conscious after life?

I think in a very abstract kind of way my spirit may live on but would I still have thoughts of my own and consciousness when my heart stops beating -I really hope not -that's a super scarey thought.

A xx

Anonymous said...

HI there,

Well freaky or what! I've just walked into the house and read your blog entry today and this is what I've just been discussing with Joshua 10 minutes ago!

We have just came back from a friends birthday party and Joshua said that he wanted to send his helium balloon to Papa!....then asked is Peter Pan real, I said no he's just a fairytale character..his little face was totally confused as then he said "well you said that Papa has gone to Neverland", so if Peter Pan is not real then where is Papa!...I said that I have never been to heaven but imagined it may feel like neverland...and with regards to the balloons, every special occasion in our family, we always thought it would be a nice idea for the kids to remember my Dad, so what we do is Joshua writes a message to his papa and ties it onto a ballon then releases it into the sky! in his little heart and mind he is sending a balloon to his Papa, filled with hugs and love!

Don't know if I ever told you but when my dad pased away Joshua could not understand the concept of "Heaven" and where his Papa was (which is normal for a 5 year old), so we told him that he is in heaven and this could be similar to Neverland, as it is a place that we will never know about! the time I did not know whether this was the right thing to say,and a few people said that if Joshua loved peter Pan then he may want to go to Heaven/Neverland!!!!
However it's now over a year since my dad passed away and never has once Joshua asked to go there, I think now he's just trying to get his little head around "heaven", as he is always talking about God just now!

Basically I don't know what is out there after we kids' thought (for just now) is that of a tangible item ie; a balloon, where he can still give something to the person he loves and misses!

Angela x

Marge said...

Maybe the after-life, or heaven, or whatever you want to call it, is more like a parallel universe - and the point isn't what your life is like there, but rather what the rest of the world looks like. Maybe it's a world where the air is clean, children are not starving, no one is raped and no one ever gets sick. And there's a constant supply of glazed doughnuts. Of course, you know I don't believe in an afterlife. But I suppose it's nice to fantasize that a world of glazed doughnuts awaits me when I cross to the other side.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Shin. I promised you that I would comment on your Blog,so the problem with trying to imagine Heaven seems a good place to start. Nobody has come back from Heaven so we don't really know what we are talking about.I know that you live in a nice house with a lovely family but can you honestly say that there can be no improvement on that? Suppose you had taken a different direction at a crossroads earlier in life. You don't know that another decision would not have resulted in your life being even better. As a lifelong Catholic, I don not think about religion a great deal. It is like a computer program running quietly in the background providing comfort and hope when needed.
A few years ago I was ill in bed with some sort of virus infection. I had only fluids to drink and nothing to eat for days and days. Eventually I decided I was well enough to get up, not realizing how weak I was. I was standing in the bathroom one minute; the next time I opened my eyes I was lying on the floor.I have no memory of feeling dizzy or fainting. I was just lying there with no recollection of it happening. I wondered if that was a taste of dying-one minute you are conscious with all that entailsand then you are turned of into nothing. It was frightening to think that death might be like that.All the joys and sorrows of life coming to an end like the flick of a light switch. There has to be more purpose to life than that. that is what I believe and it is agreat comfort. Love to you and your family, Shin. From Terry and his family.

Doubting Thomas Tang said...

Dear Shin,

I am reading this book call "heaven" by Randy Alcorn who expounded on this topic. You can check this book out at or borrow a copy at the libraries or get one off the shelves at Popular.

In short, heaven according to Randy is the renewed earth where resurrected people live with God/Jesus Christ after his second coming. God dwelling with us on Earth, it is an interesting read.

I like his idea of heaven as the new earth that God came to redeem, hope you would like it as well.