We were born to die and we die to live.
As seedlings of God we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.
– Russell M. Nelson
I cannot separate death from God. God is Creator of all living things and where there is creation there is death. Death is not something we should be fearful of, even though I am, or rather of the process of dying. I won’t discuss this here, as I have already done so earlier. I have no new revelations to share so I will leave it as it is.
But once that last hurdle in this life is crossed, we can only hope to truly blossom in heaven – whatever the form heaven in our hearts means for us. Having ‘shed our mortal coil’ we are free to be our true selves and none of what was said and done to us here on earth will matter. We will have no choice but to bloom and blossom in the Presence of our Creator.
I do think it matters what we say and do to others, however. I don’t know what form judgment will take but for all things to continue to be in balance, as our Wonderful Creator is in Balance, there must be an accounting of our deeds and misdeeds. Whether or not there is a punishment as we understand it is not up to me nor anyone else to decide. That alone belongs to God. And to be at peace with that is another thing entirely.
So in order for me to fully bloom and blossom in my life after my life, I probably need to shed some of the chaff here rather than deal with it afterward. We may not carry material things into the afterlife but surely we carry our unclaimed baggage as it were.
Some folks believe in reincarnation, that we are reborn life after life all the while working out our issues and past misdeeds. I don’t know how I feel about that. I can see the wisdom in the doctrine but that would mean that there is a finite number of souls rambling around the ether and for me, it would mean God is finite rather than Infinite and Eternal.
I prefer to believe in an Infinite God rather than a finite one. I want my God to be bigger than me or I will ever be. I want Him to be so Vast and Expansive that no matter how good I am or will ever be, I will never attain His Perfection or Beauty.
For me, there is comfort in His Never-Ending Presence. You may call it naïve; I call it faith.
“Time,” the Captain said, “is not what you think.” He sat down next to Eddie. “Dying? Not the end of everything. We think it is but what happens on earth is only the beginning.”
Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
If the above statement is true – if there is life after death – then why would I want to go into that life burdened with old grudges and unforgiveness? And, even if there wasn’t anything after the end, why would I want to carry hatred to my grave. Whom does it hurt? Certainly not the person I hate. It only hurts me, makes me ill, makes my passing even more painful in many ways, and my death all the sadder.
I want to go through the Door with joy, not fear or hatred or unforgiveness still in my heart. But how? Can I do a blanket “I forgive everybody” and receive absolution for my grudges? I have nothing against my Catholic brethren that receive death bed salvation / absolution – that may be the last time a person has a chance to come clean before God.
But I also wonder if I carry a grudge to my grave and beyond, will it have an effect on what Heaven will be like? Will I instead go to hell? Not the kind of fire and brimestone hell I grew up on, or the hell of Dante’s Inferno; but the worst hell I can think of is to be eternally separated from God, to never feel His Love again, to never hear His Voice speaking to my heart again, and to never, ever again to feel His Presence.
So what must I do to rid myself of these grudges and move into forgiveness? What is the process? Sure I could read books and ask people for advice but that isn’t me – I like to figure it out for myself. (This is also evidenced by my attempting to make a dog coat. My sister asked me why didn’t I just get a pattern to make it easier. I told her because I want to figure it out on my own. I am stubborn that way; life is more interesting when it’s hard than when it is easy.)
So I will keep thinking about forgiveness and writing about it until I resolve the issue. Or come to some other conclusion. Or forgive everyone. Or start the process of forgiveness. It just occurred to me I have started the process of forgiveness – just by thinking and writing about it is the beginning of that process – for me. A few years ago, forgiveness was nowhere near on the horizon for me and I would have bitten the head off of anyone who suggested it.
So it has begun…what awaits me in this new, uncharted territory? I am grateful God walks with me through this because that means I am not alone and I will walk through the pain because of Him.