HEAVEN IN SIGHT. What’s the first question you would ask someone if you knew they were seeing heaven? Photo by Enrique/Pixabay
When I hear Johnny Mathis sing “The Twelfth of Never,”
I remember asking Linda to marry me.
I asked while Johnny sang that song, and while we sat at a table in a rotating restaurant high above downtown Kansas City.
Leaning facedown on the table behind me was a moderately drunk man talking to himself. Yeah, I remember that, too.
I have lots of songs I associate with moments in my life.
I have Bible passages, too.
Probably more than many folks because I’ve been studying my way through the entire Bible, as I paraphrase the Casual English Bible.
Happy song that makes me sad
I was paraphrasing Psalm 91 the day I got word docs in an Akron, Ohio hospital were going to try to wean my little brother off the ventilator. He had COVID.
He died, leaving me to struggle with God’s Psalm 91 promises that seemed broken:
“Those of you who live under God’s wings
Are safe in the shadow of the LORD…
A thousand may die near you.
Ten thousand may fall at your side.
But you remain safe and untouchable” (Psalm 91:1, 7, Casual English Bible).
I can’t read that without thinking of my brother and without remembering how I struggled to find truth and relevance in Psalm 91.
You can read the struggle here: I fought Psalm 91 while my brother fought COVID.
Or watch the video about it here: Under God’s wings.
Mom’s moments in heaven
Christmas week I was working on Lamentations, saddest book in the Bible. It’s not a “lament” for nothing. The Jewish writer was exiled in Iraq (Babylon) and the Jewish nation was dead—its army defeated, cities leveled, citizens deported.
I was at my desk working on this when I got a call from my sis. She’s taking care of Mom who is frail after suffering from strokes that blinded her. She had COVID on top of it.
“Do you want to say goodbye to Mom?” my sister said, choking out the words.
I thought, “Oh no. While I’m paraphrasing Lamentations?”
That was my first thought.
Mom seemed dangerously weak. Resting in her living room chair, she slipped from consciousness. My sis called her back, pleading for her to wake up. When Mom woke, someone asked if she was going to leave for heaven.
Mom whispered, barely audible, “I’m already there.”
Others were there in the room and some on phones. Someone asked what she saw.
“Beautiful. Beautiful,” she said.
Earlier, she reportedly saw Dad and all three of my brothers, including the one I never met because he lived only a day.
Instead of saying goodbye, I said…
I didn’t say goodbye to Mom.
I didn’t know how long she would be with me over the phone.
So I asked, “Do you see any dogs up there?”
You’ll have to forgive me, but my son recently had to send his 13-year-old Mosby, a black Lab, to the Beyond. I was there with her from the beginning. I loved her all the way to Gone and Still. Juneau, too, the Siberian Husky we sent Beyond a couple years ago.
“Are there any hills?” I asked Mom.
I live in Kansas.
I should kick myself for not asking about the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Or asking if Paul, who sometimes seemed to write like a chauvinist, made it up there at all.
But my questions came as instinct. I found myself wanting to picture the place like some of us do when researching a vacation spot.
In a way, Mom’s at the train station and she’s got a ticket to ride. It will be me and my generation on the platform next. For now, we’re somewhere else rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs.
I did tell Mom I loved her. She told me to keep writing. So, here you go.
Mom rallied and she’s doing better today. Still recovering from COVID.
Will I always think of heaven when I read this?
Will I ever read Lamentations without thinking of Mom’s visions—whether the visions were of a real place or just shadows induced by her weakness, medication, and disease?
I still have more than a dozen Bible books to paraphrase. That’s plenty of time to find new verses that link to my life in ways I won’t forget.
What Bible passage links to your life?
I’m curious. Which is why I ask questions about dogs in heaven. And hope the Rockies and Alps are there, too.
So let me ask. If you have a Bible passage you associate with something in your life, would you tell us about it in a comment box?
Most people just send me an email, but others don’t get to read those. I think others might like to hear about Bible passages important to you.
That might make it important to them.
By the way. Mom said she did see dogs in heaven. I didn’t ask about cats. Sorry. And I never got an answer about hills.
Peace to you.
Preview of Lamentation Bible maps
- 14 hi def Bible maps
- Size: 3 MB
- Length: 21 pages
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