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“Heaven is for real.” I hope so May 10, 2014

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.
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I can think of nothing more potent for generating reflection and renewal than the return of spring. With some long-awaited mild weather on tap, I find myself reclaiming a familiar after-work pose – reclining in the backyard with a cat on my lap and martini at my side.

Mom and Dad at age 45 with their infant son. I look forward to reconnecting with this youthful, vibrant couple.

Mom and Dad at age 45 with their infant son. I look forward to reconnecting with this youthful, vibrant couple.

One evening this week, as I sat and admired the tulip blossoms, my eyes began to transition upward and explore the powder blue sky. And I started thinking about that movie.

Heaven is for Real is a story based on 4-year-old Colton Burpo’s near-death experience and its impact on his family and their community. I had seen it at the theater the previous weekend and considered it to be both entertaining and moving.

One thing that was particularly striking about the film was Colton’s recollection of deceased family members. He encounters a sister that his mother had miscarried, and he meets his great grandfather.

Colton’s dad, particularly curious about the latter interaction, shows his son a picture of the grandfather. The boy is unable to identify the elderly man. Then the father pulls out a picture of the grandfather taken many years earlier.

“That’s him!” Colton proclaims. “Everyone in heaven is young.”

Maybe that provides some comfort to a society obsessed with preserving youth. But there is something else I find particularly appealing.

Disney World_edit

Rockin’ the mouse ears with Mom at Disney World circa 1972.

Having lost both of my parents, the most recent memories I have of Mom and Dad involve the ravages of age and disease. It’s not something I dwell on, but they are images that I know will stay with me.

While I’m not convinced there’s a heaven, I truly hope there is something more awaiting us as we exit this world. And if there is a heaven, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my parents, particularly the more youthful and vital ones I remember from childhood.

Given the opportunity, I would want to engage my parents in conversation on favorite family experiences and also take time to appreciate the wisdom they collected over a lifetime. I’d like their feedback on choices made or not made, and I would be interested to share with them insights regarding parenthood, especially after my own experiences in that realm.

As we commemorate Mother’s Day, I’m reminded it’s been 13 years since Mom’s passing. Even after all these years, I can’t think of anyone who set a better example of how to live life in preparation for entering heaven. Same with Dad.

It’s rare that I let a day pass without reflecting on their impact in my life. It’s quite a legacy. If heaven is for real, and I make it there, I’ll be sure to thank my parents for that – after I mention just how great they look.

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Comments»

1. Tricia Ziegler - May 10, 2014

I have so many comments on this, it’s hard to know where to begin! First…. the pic of you in the mouse ears is the best thing ever!!! Secondly, I saw the movie as well, and enjoyed it very much. Thirdly, I, being a “surprise” to my parents in their mid-40′s, would love to see them again in their “hay day” ~ and, it may be with a slim 100 cigarette in one hand and a whiskey and water in the other!! Lastly, I do absolutely believe that “Heaven is for Real,” because if it wasn’t there’s really no reason for love, hope or faith. These three I hang onto very tightly and never want to let go of!

paulstella - May 11, 2014

I have always appreciated your optimism and sense of humor, Tricia. Thanks, and happy Mother’s Day!

2. Kathy Lapp - May 11, 2014

Very nice Paul. I love your black knee socks.


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