Have you ever wondered what it will be like to enter heaven? I read a story a while back about near-death experiences. The story that really struck me was about a man who found himself standing just outside the gates of heaven. He saw many people, some he knew and others he did not. All of them beckoning him to come in and see the beauty that lay just beyond the gates.
I thought about that a lot and came to the conclusion that if I had a choice, I would just want to be alone with Jesus for a little while first. I know we are all connected through Jesus, and when we finally make it to heaven our unending union with Christ and each other will be greatly amplified, but for now my humanity does not allow me to completely understand the depths of that reality. For us here on this earth, there is no tangible awareness of heaven or heavenly beings. We know they are there and can feel their presence, but it is not of this world. We cannot see them or touch them, but we experience them with more of a sixth sense; we experience them within our souls.
It Was Familiar
Today was no different from any other morning until I got out of my car at church. It was a beautiful morning, about 70 degrees with a cool breeze. As I walked toward the church, I looked up to the pristine blue sky and suddenly something felt different in me. It was familiar, and I knew whatever it was, it was going to be good. I went to Mass and then to adoration as I usually do. I prayed for a while and then I asked God what He wanted me to write about? Some things came to mind and I wrote them down. Then I oddly I thought about my miscarriage. It was such a long time ago, 26 years, and I try never to think about it because I cry. I suppose not being able to confront certain things is a flaw in me, or maybe it is how I protect myself, either way it is what I do when things are too hard. Sometimes though, God has different plans for us.
I sat there in the chapel before Jesus thinking about the child I had lost so long ago, and instinctively, I started asking him questions: Who do you look like? Do you have my hair? Are your ears like dad’s? Do you have his feet? And then I heard, “I’m perfect, Ma.” Tears welled up in my eyes and I replied, “Yes, you are because you are with Jesus.” I kept asking questions and receiving answers. I asked him what it was like there, and he said, “Beautiful.” I asked him if he knew me and he replied, “Intimately.” I told him I wished I knew him, and he said, “You will. It will be like we were never separated.” That really affected me and in that mystical moment, I found it hard to contain myself in that tiny chapel. I cried more than I have in a long time, not sad tears but happy ones. It was really something and I have to say it changed me. I am realizing now that he is a part of the communion of saints, and I implored him for prayers for his father, his brother and sister, and for our whole family.
God’s Will Not Ours
As much as I want to be alone with Jesus when it is my time to go to heaven, now I was rethinking that decision. It sounds horrible, but I think it is a human reaction. It isn’t that I don’t want to be alone with Jesus, because I do, but now I want to meet my child too. As sat in the chapel thinking about this, I heard my child say, “You will be with Jesus first.” Then I asked if I could be with just him, and he said “Yes.” He told me he is“always with me. I asked him if had another child in heaven. I told him I believed it was a girl and he simply said, “She is here.” Then he said, “I took care of her.” I saw a flash of two children in the distance, standing at the edge of a park holding hands. I could not see their faces, but I know I will one day. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I told him I wished that I could have raised them, and he told me it was God’s will that they be with Him in heaven.
Peace and Rest
I had not thought about the loss of my children in such a long time that I had forgotten the pain. I learned to cope with it because I had no choice, but over the years I buried that pain deep inside, because it was easier to forget than to remember. I think this experience has shown me that Jesus knows our wounds even if we are no longer aware that they exist. He knows what we need and when we are ready to receive it. I do not have experiences such as this on a regular basis, but what I do receive is rest from the weariness of this life and a peace that remains within me no matter what is happening in this world. Jesus is that peace, and He waits for us to visit Him in the tabernacle so He can change our lives. Jesus is alive in the Eucharist. He is really present and as my friend says, “He can take us wherever He wants us to go.” I never imagined in a million years where God would have taken me, but He took me there. I believe if we are faithful to Jesus and we our open hearts to Him wonderful will happen.
We Will Be Together Again in Heaven
I am human and I think from a human standpoint. When I think about the conversation I was blessed to have with my child, some of it seems kind of childish to me. It is like the roles have been switched, and he is the is the parent and I am the child. In a sense, I am, because what do I know about heaven? I only know what the Lord shows me, and that day He showed me my children. We are all connected but those in heaven are acutely aware of that connection, while we are not.
It is hard to share something so personal, but it’s not about me or what people may think of me. It is about the message God wishes to convey to others, through this experience He has so graciously given me. So many of us have lost children through miscarriage, illness, accident, or even abortion. The loss of a child is incomprehensible, and the emptiness that remains cannot be expressed adequately with words. There are also those who have lost parents, spouses, siblings, and friends; the loss of anyone we love creates within us deep wounds that the Lord wants to heal. He wants to comfort us and show us that although we feel alone, we are not. I was never able to hold my children or see their little faces, but I know now in a deeper way that they are alive and have grown up in heaven. What could be more comforting than that? Yes, I still have tears and it is still a loss, but today God gave me joy in His Eucharistic presence. He helped me to understand in a new way, that my children are with Him in all His glory and we will one day be together again.