In the Wednesday night class I attend, the ladies got a bit off topic, ruminating about what heaven will be like. "I know there will be singing and dancing, but what about after that? What else will we be doing?" There are of course, many mansions in heaven. What will those look like?
We pondered, will we know one another? Will we remember our time as beings, and will we have the same shape and form as now? If our bodies are to be perfected in heaven, does that mean we'll finally be skinny? Or might we still look as much like Rubenesque cherubs as we did here on earth?
Maybe we'll just be bouncing orbs of energy, floating about the cosmos.
I've read a lot of the classic allegories about heaven, what we will think, what we will feel when we get there. Someone asked what we would eat in heaven, and it made me remember an old Dave Gardner bit about feeding one another with long spoons. I suspected no one else would know Brother Dave, so I bit my tongue.
It's good to daydream about heaven. Some days, I'm incredibly hungry to go Home. I wish I knew what my afterlife would be like, exactly. Then again, I think the Heavenly Realm is beyond my capacity to understand.
I read Billy Graham's autobiography, "Just As I Am," some years ago. I was struck by his confession that while in seminary, theologizing with all his fellow theology students, he arrived at a crisis of faith. The mysteries and complexities of this holy deity who made promises to His children that are so improbable, well, a sane man, an educated man, must reasonably have his doubts.
Graham said he sat outside to pray, his Bible before him, and he arrived at his answer. In that moment, he simply chose to believe that the Bible was the divinely-inspired word of God, that God is the great "I Am" and that his promises and assurances were eternal.
He chose to simply believe.
I've read a lot, studied a lot, and now I find myself in that same place. We make it way too hard, this Christianity thing. Hard on ourselves, hard on one another.
I chose not to linger too long trying to understand what I can't possibly know. My eyes are set on heaven, but I don't need to have all the answers just yet. I know where I'm going, and I know that it will defy any of my imaginings. I choose to simply believe. It's enough for me, Lord.
-- Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at (931) 684-1200, ext. 217, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.