By Debbie Olujobi
What if there is no heaven, what if this is all there is?”. A friend of mine asked me this question a while back and once in a while I find myself mulling it over. I genuinely believe in heaven, the bible, good and evil and eternity. The life style choices I have made over the course of my life are greatly influenced by my beliefs and I am sure the person asking expected some level of outraged response.
I was anything but! My choices are informed by my inner moral compass, we all innately know what is right and wrong, what works for us and what doesn’t and the promise of heaven doesn’t really change that. I think dismissing any opinion other than mine is bigotry, so I didn’t dismiss the question, I chewed it over for a while and questioned my self, my experiences, my choices. Evolution thrives on research and where better to start the search than inwardly.
Heaven for me has never had a physical outline, its not a sort of prize I get for goodness or a reward for religious living; whatever that is! When I think heaven, I think rest, I think peace, I think no anxiety, no expectation and no more frustrations and disappointments. I have always envisioned heaven as a place to just be in harmony and love.
Since we loose the shackles of the body and exist in our spirit forms, we would be unlimited, existing without conscious form. My heaven would be a place to drift in light and beauty, a place to worship and be in the presence of the most beautiful, most awesome God. I have never hankered for the huge mansions or other kinds of booty most people fantasise about. I just always thought of the peace like a river, the Bible describes and that is all the heaven I need.
So now you know my expectation; the question still remains very valid. What if this is all there is? If this was all there was and ever will be, I still wouldn’t change a thing. You see, I live life in the moment, my decisions are deliberate and purpose driven. The question had arisen because a friend of mine had described my lifestyle as spartan, dry and full of denial. I live life on my own terms and choose what is pleasure or pain regardless of social expectation and acceptance.
I have always made healthy choices and I fail to see how this makes life spartan, I don’t like the taste of alcohol, so I don’t drink it, its not a heaven thing, its a taste thing. I spend quality time in prayer and meditation because it keeps me strong and focussed; I attribute my success in a great measure to God’s grace; still not a heaven thing. I choose not to socialise with large crowds and find second hand smoke and drunken people not so much fun and saying no to such gatherings is a choice; still very much not a heaven thing.
Back to the question and this time with an answer. If this was all there was, I would have no regrets. What most consider denial, I consider normal; I have never seen the sense in doing things that don’t give me satisfaction; just to please others. I believe its actually madness to acquire tastes for things that are unhealthy and in some cases out right wrong for whatever reason; alcohol and tobacco fall within that range for me.
There are some pleasures I will admit that I denied out of religious conviction but I found that to be a blessing as sacred pleasures lose value when made common; waiting has its gains. I have lived life so far with the best of intentions for my self and others to the best of my ability. I have always put comfort above beauty and integrity above conformity; I may not always be true to everyone but I am true to me.
The question I throw to everyone today is this.. How are you living your life; If this was all there was, would you have regrets? That really is a question worth pondering. It goes to the question of the integrity of our beliefs. It questions why we do the things we do; how our moral compasses align; for the greater good or for selfish and fleeting satisfactions? As another year comes to an end; we may want to ask ourselves these questions as our answers may determine whether we even qualify to make heaven.
I believe there are moments in our lives when we experience heaven on earth; those are the periods when we enjoy peace, rest, harmony and love, when the dots connect and the constellation aligns. For a christian heaven is the kingdom of God and I am sold on its existence. In the meantime; I make the life choices that best suit me; come what may, I wouldn’t change a thing.