Having been surrounded by death at such a young age, I’ve always wondered what heaven is like. This is obviously not some cheesy lovestruck entry of a girl whose life is going perfectly–prompt and polite boyfriend, good grades, a hunk of dark chocolate everyday without worrying about weight gain. This is a vagrant questioning of that place or state beyond the blue skies where we go if we do enough good deeds on earth. It’s nirvana, a chocolate lovers’ convention, God’s Kingdom–we can never truly tell. Until we die, we’re left to our own wondering, pasting suggestions and concepts we read about.
In one of my favorite childhood books, “Starring Sally J. Freedman” by Judy Blume, they described two types of heaven. As Sally and her friend Barbara rode the Good Year Blimp, they went into an intense discussion of heaven, a differentiation of a Jewish heaven, where happiness reigns and angels live, from a Christian one, where dead people float around blowing baubles. It’s obvious which image is better. Blume, being Jewish herself, often puts the Jewish tradition in the forefront, she is heavily biased on anything remotely resembling Yiddish or Kosher that her characters reflect the same persona.
Then there’s this horrible series of books called “Teen Angels” by Cherie Bennett. In Teen Heaven, different dead teens cruise around luxury sports cars as angels-in-training in between helping tortured souls on Earth Below. By the way, James Dean happens to appear at their every beck and call. I apologize that my synopsis couldn’t be more uplifting. I think I read (and enjoyed) about four of these books before I realized how pathetic it was, playing on the concept of heaven as bliss and as a divine realm for good but dead people. I stand proud as I’ve read four books while some people can’t even get past the back cover. The limitless credit cards, resurrected old pets, boyfriends (in heaven???), and condominium with complete facilities feel too good to be true, even for heaven. If heaven was truly blissful, would anyone need to hassle themselves with credit cards and angel points? Besides, who would believe that reckless James Dean could end up in heaven?
“The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold is one of the better stories I’ve witnessed among the made-to-profit films and books that infest literature recently. I’m afraid going into detail would destroy the experience for most people who have no idea what it’s about; also, I’ve only bought the book yesterday (hence I haven’t gotten around to unwrapping it) and I don’t want to limit my storytelling to the movie adaptation. The story is not about heaven per se but of a murder victim’s journey towards it, about letting go and moving on knowing that everyone you left behind will be safe and happy. Interstingly, heaven, something we’ve always assumed to be divine and technically inreachable by earthly means, starts from life, acceptance that people still continue to live.
Hmmm… I wonder what that feels like… No, I don’t want to die. I have a lot to live for thank you very much. But all these stories about heaven triggers an unanswered curiosity and I’m not the most patient person.
😀 😀 😀 not emo.