Our story today is set in heaven. It is a glorious place. The light of God shines everywhere and God is at the center of it all, and sort of everywhere just soaking it all in as countless souls experiences the joy and happiness of being in His presence. And as it says in Revelation “There is a constant chanting of angels that are heralding Holy, Holy, Holy over the throne of God. The Mercy Seat in heaven where God sits is surrounded by angels full of glory and power that profess and bless the holy name of God continuously.
Bill sits among the multitude of souls reveling in God’s glory. It’s unclear how much time has actually passed but things have started to feel a little bit different for Bill. He hears a voice.
Bill breaks out his reverie and looks over to the source of the voice and sees a vague form there. “Are you talking to me?”
“Yeah…well you’re the only one that can seem to hear me, but then again with all the singing maybe it’s just heard to hear. Ha!”
Bill watches as the strange figure starts to look more and more human shaped.
“Yeah we’re just souls, but since you seem to look the way I feel, I sense we are both transforming it something more resembling our old selves. I’m Hank. It’s nice to meet you. I’d shake your hand, but…uh…well we’re not of the body and all that.”
Bill nods dumbfounded. Nobody had ever talked to him since he walked through the gates and from that point on it’s just been constant singing.
“Listen,” says Hank, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can take this anymore.”
“What do you mean?” Bill responded, still slightly shocked that the conversation is happening.
“Do you have any idea how long we’ve been up here?”
“Well I do. 14, 325 years!”
“Really? I thought there was no time in heaven. How do you even know that?”
“First of all,” said Hank “There’s definitely time passing here, you just can’t measure it by watching the Earth go around the Sun once a year. And the reason I know how long we’ve been here, is that I happened to ask a passing angel last week. Difficult buggers to get a hold of really. It’s like trying to find an employee in a Wal-Mart to find out where they keep the slivered almonds. It’s a big place Heaven, with not a lot of those angels about. I mean the ones that are singing are obvious, but you know I figured its best not to interrupt. Anyway the angel tells me what year it is on Earth. I’m impressed we even made it as a species for that long.”
“Hmmm…well that’s interesting, but what do you want with me?” Bill asked, wondering if he shouldn’t be getting back to his bathing in the joy of God’s light.
“Well mainly you were the first person that seemed to hear me. And quite frankly, I was bored!”
“Bored? This is heaven!”
Are you trying to tell me all this joy and happiness hasn’t lost its edge a bit? I mean this feeling of joy and happiness in the glory of God and all that has been going on for a pretty long time…I mean I don’t even remember why I’m happy anymore. I mean don’t get me wrong, God’s great and all, but to feel really good, you need to remember what it was like to feel bad. It’s been a long time, I was lucky to remember my own name.”
“I’m…Bill but the way…I think, and yes you may be on to something. I have noticed lately that there isn’t quite as much bliss as there was before. Although I can’t say exactly when it all changed. I just assumed this was how I always felt and that I hadn’t remembered properly how happy I’d been feeling.”
“Bill, that is exactly what went though my mind. But you know what knocked me out of my reverie?”
“As I’m just enjoying the scene of Jesus sitting next to his Father on the throne, I notice Jesus take a sip of something from a golden chalice, and it hits me like a tsunami. I had completely forgot the sensation of just how refreshing a drink can be when you’re thirsty.”
“So?! Listen I am not saying God isn’t amazing, but so are a lot of other things. I mean when was the last time you saw field full of flowers, a waterfall, or just a great movie? Or that great feeling you get after a good cry. I would kill to see Forrest Gump, or Beaches right now.”
“But you get to feel great all the time here. You don’t need to cry.” Bill looked at Hank with a matter of fact expression on his face.
“I mean sure you can say that about anything, but where’s the flavor? Joy and happiness is not built on one thing alone, they are built on a myriad of experience of the course of time. I mean when was the last time you woke up from a kick ass great night of sleep?”
Bill’s expression now changed to one of incredulity “God’s light is everywhere. You don’t need to sleep?”
“Exactly, it’s always light. Do you think that’s normal?”
“Think about it Bill. It took me a long time to remember too. Don’t you remember something called night? You know stars? The moon? Sleep?”
“It rings a bell. But sleeping is for when you’re tired. I’m not tired and haven’t been since I got here.”
“And you think that’s normal? What about that good kind of tired you got from a good workout or jog? What about that good kind of tired you got from a satisfying day of work?”
Bill, looked down for a moment, a look of deep concentration on his face. “No I don’t. I think I sold office supplies.”
“That’s not the point!” Hank became more animate and grabbed Bill by the shoulders only to find nothing to grab on to and then backed away with a look of disappointment. “Listen, the point is I am sure there was something that brought you joy. Look I love God, you love God, that’s how we got here, and I think that’s fabulous. But there’s got to be more to it than this.”
Bill still looked apprehensive, “I don’t know. God’s light is pretty great.”
“Of course it is. If you had asked me 5,000 years ago if I would get tired of this, I would have said you were crazy. No one is more surprised than I am to find myself in this position of being a bit dissatisfied. Now if you ask me could I take all of this for another 1,000 or 2,000 years, I would say sure, but eternity? Really? That same angel that I asked about the year to, you know what I asked him next? How much longer do we have? You know how he responded? He just laughed. That’s messed up. I mean don’t you remember getting up here and all the excitement of it? I was thinking, I can’t wait to see my family. And you know I realized, I haven’t missed them once. And I don’t know how long you’ve been here, but I also started to remember how excited I would be to get here to meet Him and all the question I was going to ask him. I mean think about it Bill, weren’t you all excited to meet God, and ask Him a bunch of questions?”
“Yeah, me too. But have you got to ask Him one question?”
Bill shook his head.
“Me neither, and I love asking questions. But I got here and it was just like praise, singing, glorious light, and I forgot everything!”
“So, what, do you want to ask Him a question?”
“Yeah I want to ask him a question. Like, ‘Can I go back and do some more good works on Earth?’, because I’m sure there are still problems.”
“Yeah…come to think of it, I feel a bit idle.” Bill started to feel like maybe he was coming out of a dream. “So do you think we should go up and talk to Him?”
Both Bill and Hank looked towards the throne. A throng of angels and beasts singing praise. God and Jesus were just smiling magnanimously at everybody. Hank turns to Bill, “I don’t man, it doesn’t look like a scene to have a conversation in.”
“Yeah. So what do you want to do?”
“Let’s just get out of here Bill. We’ll talk to somebody at the front gate and see what our options are.
“Sounds good Hank. But where is the front gate?”
“Hmmm….I don’t know. It’s been like 14,000 years I don’t remember which direction we came from? Do you?”
“No. So what are we going to do?”
“I don’t know…let’s just start walking and try to find it. I mean the one thing we do have, is time.”
Thank you for reading. Thought I’d try my hand at a little satire. Whatever your thought are about heaven, eternity is still a really, really, really, long time. 🙂