Once I had a conversation with a co-worker about Heaven. The question wasn't about the existence of Heaven, but about whether or not it is a place and therefore should be capitalized, like the name of a city, or whether it was an idea, not unlike a political idea - like democracy.
It was an existential conversation and an intellectual one - you know, the kind that you sit around and talk about how to save the world but not really saving the world.
Today though, I'm going to capitalize the "H" in Heaven because just last weekend, I lost my mother-in-law. Death makes one think of what's beyond this life, at least it does me. I also think that death is all about the living, how we deal with the passing, how we miss the person, how we wonder what kind of difference our own lives make in the lives of others.
Her passing made me think of generational living. One thing I've learned through my walk through this life, is that there's the reality of our lives today, but legacy living means knowing our lives will contribute to future generations. It's what puts value in our existence, why else would we be here? I looked around the room during her funeral at her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren. I couldn't help but wonder about my own life. What would I have taught my own children? Did I make a real and eternal difference with my life?
And I also thought about my desk drawer. If I die tomorrow, and someone had to clean that out - well, I was embarrassed by the messiness. I really did think that.
My mom-in-law lived a good life. She raised four children, all of whom she was proud and bragged to anyone who will listen that all of them graduated college. She had her share of sadness and strife, she was twice widowed and raised my husband, the youngest, on her own. I know it was hard and lonely at times, I've heard it said by her in a voice that was matter-of-fact but yet had a undercurrent of sadness. At the great age of 90, she breathed her last breath and I know that God welcomed her in his arms in that place called Heaven and said, "Well done, my child, well done."
And I do the only thing I know to do when there is nothing else I can do. I pray.