I think, perhaps, we have very mistaken ideas about heaven – what it is and what it holds for us. I don’t think it can be so very different from life here as most people seem to think. I believe we’ll just go on living – a good deal as we live here – and be ourselves just the same – only it will be easier to be good and to follow the highest. All the hindrances and perplexities will be taken away, and we shall see clearly.
~Anne of the Island
So, in the last month I’ve been on top of the Empire State Building and at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Can you believe it?
Well, you shouldn’t believe it really, since I wasn’t actually on the bottom of the ocean. I just bobbed around at the top of it and looked at the bottom which was only about twenty feet below me where I snorkeled. I might tell you all about that another time and how I saw Jesus there.
We were in Florida for about a week. We took two days to drive there and three days to drive home. I was in the Smoky Mountains and drove around the beautiful horse farms in Kentucky. We snorkeled in the Florida Keys and drove through Miami at night – a really gorgeous skyline I’d never seen before.
At times it gave me a grass-is-greener kind of feeling. I mean, everything seemed so amazing and unique compared to the little Missouri hills I come from. But mostly I was just thinking about how much there is to see and do, and I’m alive to do it.
Did you ever feel scared of eternity? I’ve kind of always been scared of it. Not so much where I’ll spend it but just the fact that it goes on forever. And on this trip – maybe it’s because I was looking back to the days just after my diagnosis when I sort of started expecting death – or maybe it’s because I got a phone call on it that kind of shook me – I’ll mention that later – but I kept thinking about how many cool things exist in this life and that I wish I had all of eternity to explore them instead of all of eternity in a place I can’t even fathom. It probably sounds strange, because believe me, I’m generally completely convinced that heaven is better than anything we can imagine. But I’m just saying. That’s hard to imagine since there’s so much to love about here.
The phone call was from Nurse Kim at Dr. R’s office. Apparently the official report on my lung CT showed a couple very tiny points of concern that should be and almost definitely are regular ol’ scar tissue that many people have in their lungs from previous infections but that seem to have grown since the last scan. So I go back in three months instead of a year, and we’ll take a look again. We’ve had this exact scare before, both on my lungs and on my shoulder. And we’ve learned that it wastes a lot of good, pleasant time to fret and worry about it when it really might be nothing at all. And I promise you, I’m not fretting.
But still, it makes me think. It makes me remember the really scariest moments in the beginning and how nothing has been quite that scary since. It makes me think about the people who’ve had cancer before me and despite lots of good years and lots of fighting, it eventually won. I also think about the people who’ve had cancer before me and totally won. And obviously, I think about eternity and life on earth and that feeling I had the first time that life was too short now to bother dreaming or to do daring things or to visit exciting places but how as I emerged from the valley of the shadow I was thinking, Not next time. Next time, I’m totally riding the bull. And that makes me think about the fact that from the Empire State Building to the Atlantic Ocean to the Smokies and horse farms in between, I’m kind of doing that. I’m completely alive and I’m actually living, and my heart is very, very full.