Monday, February 21, 2011

How Far is Heaven?

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
--1 Corinthians 2:9

One of the things I like to think about the most is, what is heaven like? What will we do there? How will we act?

When I was a kid, I thought heaven would be like it is portrayed in Saturday's Warrior: people walking around on a cloud wearing scrubs, occasionally breaking into choreographed song-and-dance numbers. Not very interesting, in my childlike opinion... I hoped heaven would get better by the time I got back there.

Since then I have become somewhat wiser (I hope). Here is what I think heaven will be like.

Family. Last summer was the Watson family beach reunion. One duplex beach house, 20 aunts and uncles, about a million cousins. I spent the week with the three of my cousins who are closest to me in age. We went on random shopping adventures; we stayed up way too late watching movies and goofing off; we talked about the gospel while floating in the waves. When we came inside, we played games with aunts and uncles or chased around energetic little cousins.
Through the week, I began to realize why it is so important that our families be with us in heaven. I played peek a boo, watched Phineas and Ferb, joked, laughed, played, splashed, and decided I wanted my life to be like this forever. And that is the promise of the gospel—forever!

Music. A few minutes ago, I went tunnel singing. Tunnel singing is a BYU freshman tradition in which musically inclined people go to an acoustically excellent tunnel by the Marriot center on Sunday nights to sing hymns. The spirit I feel there... I usually show up five to ten minutes late. As I walk up to the tunnel, I can hear the people who are already there singing, singing praises, lifting up their voices high to heaven. I am able to blend my voices with theirs, and without a conductor, without any coercion or any reason to be there other than our own desires, we sing!
When heaven wanted to announce that most magnificent event, the birth of the Savior, they didn't set up a pyrotechnics show or a circus. They sent a choir.

Learning. “And that is how the properties of super-fluid helium strengthen my testimony!” So said my chemistry teacher this semester, Dr. Woodfield. The weird thing is... he was right. You see, helium does not become liquid until extremely low temperatures, about -269 degrees Celsius. Most things become solid a little bit past that point, and we then say that they are perfectly ordered. Helium doesn't. Instead of becoming a solid, it becomes super-fluid, like a liquid only liquid-er. Anything the water in your glass does, this super-fluid helium does even more. Interestingly, we also say that this super-fluid helium is perfectly ordered.
How does that work? I can get a solid crystal being ordered, but not a liquid! I just don't see how that happens!
Here's another analogy. Think of a beautiful waltz; the dancers have practiced and prepared to dance this number for years and years, perfecting their technique. They move with grace, with strength, they move perfectly. Now imagine you are down on the dance floor instead of watching from the stands. Dancers whirl around you in a confusing whirl, twirling and stepping and seeming but a breath away from collision. From your spot on the dance floor, you cannot see the perfect order of the dance—you only see chaos.
Such is life. We don't always understand what's going on or how it fits into God's plan, but that's because we are down on the dance floor. We don't really get super-fluid helium. We are but mortals.
Don't you feel great that you know that now? Heaven will be a place of ceaseless learning.

Friendship. I have been blessed with so many amazing friends I sometimes wonder if some saint accidentally gave a messenger angel my name instead of his, because there is no way I have done enough to deserve all these blessings. Friends who are my age, friends who are older or younger, friends back home, friends at BYU. Friends who I talk to for hours at a time, friends who are willing to do crazy stuff with me for no particular reason.
I have a ton of great friends. I am 18 years old.
How many friends will I have once I re-realize my true age?

Food. Every year, my family goes to Lyon Farms and picks box upon box of strawberries. Every year I hear someone say something along the lines of, “If heaven doesn't have strawberries, I'm not going.”
But come on—it's heaven. There's gotta be strawberries! And southwest eggrolls. And cookout milkshakes. And enchiladas.

Beauty. Every time I am walking around campus and glance up at Mount Timpanogos, it takes my breath away. I live in such a beautiful place, surrounded by glorious mountains, with an open, varied, gorgeous sky (I'm big on sky). And lets not forget where I came from, North Carolina, the land of trees and flowers and sandy beaches.
I no longer think we will be walking around on clouds in heaven, but I could imagine walking around on sandy beaches.

Every day of my life I realize how great this plan is. Me, little old Jason Ray, can grow up and live in a place so amazing I can't even comprehend it? Wow. That kinda rocks. A lot.


cindy baldwin said...

LOL - I used to love the Saturday's Warrior idea of heaven!!! All those flowy dresses and dancing! ;)

mom said...

I'm a fan of heaven with tons of strawberries and snorkeling!

Jason said...

Actually, right now I think random choreographed dance numbers would make for a great heaven--in fact I should have included that, I totally think randomly bursting into song will happen a lot up there... As an 8 year old, it didn't seem so fun :P
Also, I'm betting there will be other foods in heaven that we don't have here... nectar and ambrosia maybe? :D

Collin said...

Wow!! That was seriously one of the greatest things I have ever read!!! :D