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Heavenly Speculation

9.4.15

Dreamstime

When someone close to you dies, it triggers thoughts of whether you believe in heaven and what it would be like. I have not believed in pearly gates and streets paved in gold since I was a young child, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s a heaven. I just don’t need precious gems and fancy streets around for all of eternity.

I have this other idea in mind; I want my heavenly reward to be the ability to time travel. I’ll admit I’m a sci-fi fan, but I’m not really thinking in terms of H.G. Wells—I don’t think we can actually physically be there or change what’s already happened. My idea of a good time after death would be the ability to go back and forth through periods in my life to experience again the joys and sorrows. We forget so much of what happens to us, and I suppose if we could travel this way, we’d discover how much we embellish the good times and brick up the bad to protect ourselves.  But if you’ve already lived your life and you can’t do anything about it, wouldn’t it be fun to just be an observer and remember the details? My idea wouldn’t stop with our own lives—that wouldn’t take all of eternity. We might also have the ability to go back into previous lives, or if reincarnation does not exist, to previous eras of time to study how they dressed and acted or what really happened during certain historical events.

No one ever accused me of being a conventional thinker, and that’s just fine with me.

I do think my idea of heaven is based partly on the fact I consider myself an observer. I have spent all of my life watching things happen, then recording them. It’s worked well in my pursuit of a career because it’s what journalists, authors and photographers do, three of the jobs I’ve spent the most time loving. I’ve always known I was not the individual that was going to organize the best event or campaign ever, make a million bucks, make a huge impact on society or give myself completely to a particular cause. I’m just here to see what happens and put it down on paper.

Come to think of it, I may have received this trait from my dad, the newspaper editor. So if my theory holds true about heaven, that means daddy is zipping around history right now, having a wonderful time.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Leaving something of yourself on Earth

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As I get older I realize I don’t have many years left.  It is hard to believe that someday you will cease to exist.  How can that be, when you’ve existed all these years?  Will it be like you are sleeping? Or will it be like a dream that becomes your new reality. I have been asking myself these questions for a long time, and the answers have eluded me (thank goodness for that!). But I’ve also tried to leave something of worth behind me.  Over the years, I enjoyed many crafts and part of the reason is that I am attempting to give my children and the world something to remember me by.  I painted pictures, quilted, painted ceramics, and conducted genealogy research.  Each form of expression gave me some peace―some feeling of leaving something besides my wonderful children behind me on this Earth.

I do not intend for this column to be depressing. But I see no reason not to cope with the reality that someday we will no longer exist—a concept most people who are 86 grapple with.  Will you be forgotten as another generation arrives or have you left something behind that will say “I was here”?  I feel this way about my writing as well.  I am proud to have two books and several stories published; I like thinking that someone might read these works fifty years from now and get pleasure from or entertainment from the words. My writing gives me satisfaction that I have put part of me into the future—I created characters, plots and stories that will allow someone to get lost in my creations for a time.

Although I believe in God and in Heaven, it is very difficult to grasp what it will be like.  How will we recognize loved ones who have gone before us?  How is there space up there for all of us?  Some might say these are useless questions: We will find the answers when it’s our time to go.  Still, the thought of no longer existing as a person in this reality is a hard one to grasp.

My daughter Genilee may have a fit with my writing a column that seems so glum.  I remember well when my own mother talked about death, and I told her the same thing my children would say to me: “Don’t talk about it. I don’t want to hear it.”

I understand where they are coming from, and yet―here I am talking about it on the Internet.  I used to hate the subject as well. But as I approach my 90th year, I can’t help but be curious.  And I’d like to hear from my fellow writers, readers and friends. How do you feel about the subject―deathDo any of you have trouble coming to grips with the fact someday you will no longer exist on Earth?

Regardless of whether I hear from anyone, I promise to write my next column on a more cheerful topic.  And to my friends: don’t worry. I am actually not depressed and I apologize if I’ve made you think about something you don’t want to face right now. Please know that I am quite content with my life.  I hope you are, too.

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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