I have been reading a book called When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chondron for well over a week. I usually devour books at a much quicker rate that that, but this one is proving difficult to get through. I'm not sure if it's just too deep for me or if I am just on way too many drugs these days to follow anyone's thought processes. But I like it so I am trying to stick with it.
One of the quotes in the book struck a powerful cord in me, "The spiritual journey is not about heaven and getting to a place that is really swell." I have always had a similar belief that each of us is called to be the most decent, honest, and loving person that we can be and that the journey toward becoming that person in of itself is an ethereal journey. Unfortunately, the journey makes no promises about one's ultimate destination or state of affairs. We want good things to happen to deserving people and bad things to befall those who are evil. Perhaps we cling to notions of heaven and hell because it tidies up something that is really a rather large mess: making sense of our existence on this planet where disparities in wealth, resources, love, food, basic sanitation, water, and a myraid other needs are so wide and deep. At times I have clung to the notion of heaven and hell just to have the hope that everyone ultimately receives their just rewards.
Over years of my illness, and especially over the last year, I have been aware of the journey that I am on. Looking back I realize how much I have learned about myself, my loved ones, marriage, motherhood, faith, friendship, and love. It has been an extraordinally difficult journey and I have wished it away many times, but I am grateful for it nonetheless. I feel as though I grasped some important truths during these past months that had previously eluded me. The irony is that I will not have a chance to use them.
I realize now that the entire journey -- birth though death and everything in between -- is worth the struggles regardless of the existence of heaven. I have reaped my rewards here. I loved life fully and I have no regrets.
But I still want there to be a heaven because I want to see my loved one again and want to meet my "cyber"friends who have cheered me on. And I'd like to think that all the people who had little in this life will be fulfilled in the next.