HEAVEN IS —

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I’m a simple soul, and Heaven to me is getting off the WordPress spam list so that I can once again visit and comment on my friends’ blogs, instead of being a pariah and having my words sent to oblivion (aka the spam folder). Since redemption just happened this morning, after days of hair-tearing frustration,ย heavenly freedom is fresh in my mind.

Poet Patrick Phillips has a rather different idea of heaven. Here’s how he sees it:

Heaven

It will be the past
and we’ll live there together.

Not as it was to live
but as it is remembered.

It will be the past.
We’ll all go back together.

Everyone we ever loved,
and lost, and must remember.

It will be the past.
And it will last forever.

(“Heaven” by Patrick Phillips, from Boy. ยฉ The University of Georgia Press, 2008.)

I’ve read this poem over and over, and am still not sure what I think of it. Nobler than my current image, simple sounding — but less simple to process. Jean-Paul Sartre in No Exit said famously that Hell is other people; now Phillips is saying that Heaven is other people. No harps, cushiony clouds, recording or reclining or dancing angels — we’re probably all agreed on that point. But beyond that? I wonder, what and where do you think heaven is, if at all?

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This entry was posted in Angels, Etcetera, Freedom, Life and Death, Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to HEAVEN IS —

  1. Stef says:

    Welcome back to the WP club! ๐Ÿ™‚

    To me, “heaven” is peace.

    Like

  2. Carol says:

    I think I have never thought of what heaven is. Now that you’ve raised the question, I think it is warmth and comfort – but not comfort in the material sense – and peace and harmony.
    As to the WordPress spam hell, I am very suspicious of their “new and improved” commenting procedures, which annoy the heck out of me.

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      I realized I’ve not thought much about it either.
      But one thing for sure — the word “enhancement” (as you say, “new and improved”) signals sure and certain trouble, and often hell!

      Like

  3. I much prefer to think that heaven is a place or a time that we find whilst we are alive: Heaven on earth… to me it’s happiness which is sometimes just a fleeting moment and sometimes it’s a special place/landscape/building that we visit to feel that feeling of ‘Heaven on Earth’ . I don’t believe in an after life… well not right now.

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      Seems to me, Rachael, that you’re fully occupied really living your present life! Being fully alive (which I think most of us are only in spurts) might well be heaven on earth.

      Like

  4. suitablefish says:

    have a peaceful day!

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      The prospect is — heavenly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Actually, heaven is often an excitingly creative one-to-one session at the Apple store, like this morning, learning all the fantastic new things I can do that I never dreamed of —

      Like

  5. reb says:

    Peace.

    Although, I do want the cushiony clouds, angels with fluffy wings, harps … the whole kit ‘n caboodle.

    Like

  6. pauline says:

    Perhaps heaven is only a state of mind – after all, our bodies stay here. Or maybe we’re ‘reassembled’ in our next incarnation? Heaven could be another place, one containing all that we loved here but how would that work? Some people I know (including me) would have to live in several heavens at once… When I think the word heaven, I am usually out of doors somewhere, surrounded by trees and sunlight, birdsong and playful breezes, or the ocean might be whispering to the shore, or I might be in the midst of a flower-filled meadow. (Never are there any bugs!) Other times, I imagine me in the place I love best (my childhood home), but not confined to that. I also imagine me in the best of health, and with all my faculties operating at maximum. When that tires me out, I imagine myself as just being, not doing.

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      Hmmmm, bugs have to seek out their own heaven?
      ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Truly, though, these are lovely images here. I’m intrigued by your questioning about needing more than one heaven to accommodate loved people and places.
      Do you think this might be what “seventh heaven” is all about? At least seven heavens —

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      • pauline says:

        Say I loved someone in this life but he passed on and I remarried – how would it be heaven if I had to be with both of them in the next life? I forsee problems with that (of course, that’s assuming love and life are similar to earth’s in the next dimension. Who knows, maybe it wouldn’t be a problem…).

        And yes, bugs would have their own heaven. It only seems fair ๐Ÿ˜‰

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        • Touch2Touch says:

          These are conundrums that are often pondered —
          but what I think (with Easter Sunday around the corner) is that resurrection, or heaven, or Whatever Comes Next is likely to be wholly unexpected and even unimaginable. But, presumably, A Good Thing.

          Like

          • pauline says:

            Which makes it all that much harder to imagine (or talk about) since all we have to go on are our experiences here. My wishful thinking? Heaven would be whatever we want it to be moment to moment.

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          • Touch2Touch says:

            I’ll wish that you’re right. I think that’s what a lot of us want it to be.

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  7. What a beautiful poem Patrick Phillips wrote. Spam folder or not, I will always rush to read your comments. They mean a lot to me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  8. 2e0mca says:

    You’re here Judith… ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forwards to crossing comments again soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

  9. Over time, I have become an “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” person. The more I spend time in nature, the more comfort I find in knowing that when I die โ€” I remain part of all of this, just in a different form and with a different purpose.

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      For someone who loves nature so much, and spends time out with it learning to know it, that would truly be a great comfort.

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    • pauline says:

      I felt that way often, though once I had children and grandchildren, I knew I would miss my family and being with them, seeing them, interacting with them. Being a dust mote sounds heavenly as does being part of spring duff, or winter snows, or last autumn’s leaves, but I’d still want to hold and speak with my kids and grandkids.

      Like

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