A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I accompanied my grandchildren and daughter in law to Disney World. Both of us grew up so dirt-poor that we never even wished to go to Disney. The idea that we might ever be able to go was just too far-fetched for us. By some weird twist of fate, though, there we were. We found ourselves right in front of the princess castle at Magic Kingdom.
We had so much fun.
I love people-watching and at one point I was sitting on a bench watching people pass by me and I wondered if they knew how much God loved them.
I think about how heaven is not Disney World all the time but I had never been to Disney World so I never really understood that comparison. In my imagination, Disney World was this magical place where all your dreams come true.
In reality, it is hot and there is a lot of walking and waiting in line while hot and tired. Kids are screaming and I cannot tell you how many parents I saw yelling at those screaming kids totally frustrated with whatever issue the kid was having.
At one point I heard a mom yell “what is the problem NOW!” to her crying toddler. I wanted to answer for him and tell her that he was in the most miserable place ever because it was hot and not comfortable at all. I did not.
It did make me think about the heaven being Disney World idea.
Disney was fun for us, but I really attribute that to all the therapy I have had and all the work I have done to not take temper tantrums personal. Also, I am a grandma and that is totally different from being Mom. But what if Disney is not as magical as we make ourselves believe it is? And what if heaven is also not what we think it is?
Heaven is union with God, not getting access to all the things we love. It is less about being able to sit by a nice fire and read books without being interrupted and more about worshipping God in the light of His face. And when you think of it that way, it does not really sound all that fun. Or awesome. Because we really do not know how amazing God’s face is.
How much do we talk about Heaven not being a place where all our wishes come true? In fact, heaven has very little to even do with us. Other than we are loved by God and made to be in union with Him and heaven is where that happens perfectly.
It made me wonder if I understood what exactly I am doing in this life and where I am trying to go after die.
Do any of us?
I think we think we know the answer but how often do we sit and think about heaven and what it is going to be other than where we get to do all our favorite things? We think it is what we think Disney World is but even Disney World is not that. We fool ourselves into thinking something that is not reality by avoiding it.
We avoid thinking about our death, life after death, our sins, our souls, and the effect our sins have on our souls. We just stay busy, going going going. We distract ourselves with social media and arguing with strangers about theology all so we can avoid God. We scroll and refresh. We go to birthday party after birthday party. We remodel our houses or dye our hair pink.
Anything we can do to not have to sit and stare out a window thinking about death, life and God.
Instead we tell ourselves that heaven is going to be awesome but if we cannot sit still in this life, then how are we going to enjoy sitting still in the next?
Do we even ask ourselves that?
Leticia Ochoa Adams is the creator of the Catholic Speakers of Color resource for conference organizers. She writes from Texas, on life, death, grief, suicide, faith, motherhood, doubts and whatever (else) happens to be on her mind.