Yesterday I went out to look for flowers to plant and ended up at Walmart. I usually buy the plants that are half dead so they are cheaper and if I bring them back to life...great and if not, I didn't spend a bunch of money.
I picked up a couple of Columbines, some good looking pansies and a perennial called blood red, I think. I was pretty excited about bringing them home and planting them in my beds.
On a whim, I walked through the book section to see what they had on the shelves. I remember last time I was there, they had a bunch of books about heaven that I wanted to buy but were too expensive. This time, they had the one I was looking for, "Proof of Heaven, a neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife" for 12 bucks. I decided to buy it as I have been hungering for heaven these days. Not in the way it sounds, but in the peaceful, comforting way that helps me do my job. You see, I know a lot of folks up in heaven and I wonder what kind of time they are having. Plus, it's just nice to be able to talk with my patients if they ask me what I think. It's a comfort for folks when the end is near. So, I read everything I can get my hands on that has to do with heaven.
I went to the cashier to pay for my flowers and my other things I picked up on the trip. The cashier was overwhelmed and it took her forever to push the buttons on the computer for the lady in front of me. Another cashier came over and tried to get me to go to her register, but I told her to let the guy behind me go first as I love reading the National Enquirer and it had the best and worst beach bodies edition on the cover...I wasn't moving.
Finally, the cashier started ringing up my stuff. She got the flowers, the cat litter, the body wash and then stopped short when she picked up the book. She looked at it for a long time and then ran it over the glass. "Have you read this book?' I asked the lady...feeling like I was supposed to say something to break the silence. "Yes, actually I just finished it the other day." I asked her what she thought of it and the story began. She just lost her 35 year old daughter to diabetes three months ago and was still in shock over all of it. She told me she was raising her 15 year old grandson and her and her husband had to sell their home and move to the city so as not to disrupt his life anymore. I stood there in silence and listened. I looked for the line behind me at the register and there was no one waiting...so I just let her talk. She talked of what a lovely person her daughter was and how she was sick for the last 10 years but they didn't think she was that ill. She got pneumonia at the hospital and they called and told her she was gone. Just like that... I told her I was so sorry and it must be so hard to be raising a teenager after you've done it. She told me the hardest thing for her was watching this boy miss his mom.
Then she put the book in the bag and told me how she felt so much comfort after reading the book. How she was so unsettled and wanted to know her daughter was okay and reading this book helped her go on.
While I gathered all the stuff I bought up, I kept saying I was so sorry...so sorry for her pain and that she lost her lovely daughter. Then I headed out into the parking lot and took a deep breath...
Last night, I got in bed and read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I got to a page where I found what I needed for the day...the part when the neurosurgeon was in a coma and wasn't in his body. He was gone from us and was learning what he needed to learn, what we all need to learn:
You are loved and cherished...
You have nothing to fear...
Then he came to the last thought...
Love...without a doubt is the basis of everything.
That's what I think of when I think of heaven. Pure love, something that I don't think I can fathom. Maybe that's what I felt for a minute when each of my children were born but then the pureness of it was drowned out by the humanness of the world we live in. Sometimes, I think I get a glimpse of heaven when a person is in his last days and I watch the family love him/her until the last breath.
After I read until I can't keep my eyes open tonight, I am going to offer up a prayer of comfort, peace and strength for my little cashier lady at Walmart, for her daughter and her grandson...and while I'm at it, I'm gonna throw in peace on earth and more kindness and unconditional love for the world too.
Can't hurt right?
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,