Diary 101 #9: Immortality-the ability to live forever; eternal life. The story of a struggling believer.

When we are born, our parents, no matter what they say, visualize a life for their child that they hope they have. When you are born into a Christian family that visualization is even more intense. Most of the time you are dedicated in the church by a minister so that you will be protected by God and those that promise to show you the way to live a good life until you are able to take responsibility for your own actions. We are taught from the age we can walk that we will have eternal life in Heaven “if” we live good lives and worship Jesus. I was taught a good person meant someone that went to church, prayed for those around them, lived life responsibly and was God fearing. 

I clearly remember sitting out on the cool porch during a hot summer day being read to by my Momo, a little story-wheel story about a little girl that was very sick and went to live in heaven.  I can clearly remember the graphics of one of the scenes. It was a gold brick street and the little blonde hair blue eyed little girl in a white dress stood there looking forward, seemingly scared. The next was a scene of Jesus holding the little girl’s hand and walking down the road. It leads to the last scene I remember, which was of a choir of angels singing while others looked on. 

Now, this is where this journal entry gets real and not sugar-coated to make me look some sort of way. The honest truth? This is where my fear of heaven begins. Yes, you heard me right. I was taught that we would not know our family, we would not remember our lives. As a little girl that was the worst possible thing to imagine. I loved my papaw deeply and wanted to know him forever. I also did not like the way heaven was portrayed to be gold everywhere, with a bunch of strangers walking around in sheets singing Christian music all day. I wondered how in the world would I make it into heaven because I could not sing, and I personally didn’t think heaven sounded so great.  Remember, this is the reasoning of a child no older than 7. For years this story wheel would haunt me, but at the same time, it was one of my favorite stories because a sick little girl got to be well again and be happy and safe. As a teenager my image of heaven evolved to, why does heaven have to be boring? Why is it so hard to get into heaven? Why can’t we just live here on earth with our families, forever and only the “bad” people go away? 

Since then, I have no better picture of what heaven will be like. I don’t know, no one knows. I do have a new idea of Good and Bad people and how there is a huge gray area that forms too many questions. On the topic of what I think heaven will be or what I’d like it to be I’d like to imagine beautiful unlimited acres of rolling green fields with clean ponds, and streams, oceans you can visit, peace unlimited, and never having to fear any evil. I know worship and praising are involved. I know love will be felt. Why can that just make me feel good? Why do I have to continue to fear the unknown? I have questions that I feel guilt for having. Like why can’t we know our loved ones, will we be human or just a bright light, will we ever get hugs or kisses, will we have homes or just unsleeping days of worship? Not to mention I’d like to file a complaint, why can’t animals be in heaven, and are those plain white robes a must?

I know I am being a little humorist here, but seriously over the years, these are the things I have thought about. While I have all these questions as an adult there is no doubt in my mind that heaven is where I want to end up. I mean have you heard about hell?  Burning in a fire night and day, watching replays of all the bad things you have done. This too was an image that was literally burned into my mind as a child. Personally, at some points in my life, I would think that I must have already failed the getting into heaven thing and I’m experiencing Hell. Who agrees with me sometimes hell seems to be what we’re experiencing day to day just without the burning? 

Christianity as a whole can be scary in itself. Now I know as you reading this you probably may believe in some of what I have shared and some of you are going to think this journal entry is the most absurd thing you have ever read. What can we agree on?  I think we can agree on – one way or another at the end of our life we die. We no longer exist on the earth. I believe we can agree that none of us for sure know what happens after that. Now I know this is not a lot to agree on but it’s something. 

While by no means am I a Christian that can honestly say if I die tomorrow i’ll go to heaven. I know people like that. I use to get mad at people when they would give their testimony and say “I just can’t wait to be in heaven”. I’d be over there like excuse me why do you want to die?  What I feel for those people now is the envy of knowing that they without a shot of doubt will end up in heaven. What a peaceful life they must lead just knowing all their decisions and ideas are wrapped so closely to God and God’s plan that they can rely on the fact that when they die, they will wake up at the side of our King. 

Lately immortality or the immortality of my memory is weighing on me. If I go to heaven or not, of course, worries me but not being remembered is making me so sad that some days I don’t even want to get out of bed. You see when I was born I’m sure my papaw held me and had dreams for me. Big beautiful dreams that one day I would be a great representation of a human-angel. I’m sure he saw me going to a Christian university, becoming a Sunday school teacher, and being a mother. Possibly marrying a pastor or at the least a god-fearing man. He had dreams of me having the things in life that he may not be able to provide, and all the time loving God and living life for the lord. Folks, I’m none of those things. At most I try to be a good person. 

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the feeling that when I die there will be no one to lay me to rest. Let’s face it, I am way past the halfway part of my life. My nana passed in her 60s and that is right around the corner for me. With me, everything I loved and who loved me dies as well. I have given the world nothing to remember me by. I don’t care that I won’t be remembered but it kills me that my grandparents will officially die with me. For me, this is my second biggest immortality fear.

This blog offers no solutions or a neatly tied up story. What it does is show me in a very vulnerable way. I don’t like being vulnerable but I do think it is a part of me that helps others.  I continue to work today to be a better human. I am trying to answer questions about my own personal life and where I should be going and what decisions I have to make for the lord to be able to lead my life. If you think of me during your prayer, I’d ask for you to just say a little one for me as well. I pray for all of you not by name but as a thought. XOXO, Evie

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