It is nearly 7 p.m. You are at home minding your own business when there is a knock at the door. You stroll down the hall alongside thoughtfully placed family pictures. The grandparents, school photos etc. You smile slightly as you always do while passing them. Cheerfully you open the door to greet your unexpected guest.
It is your mom. You gasp at the sight of her. Mom? She looks like she always did; calmly looking at you with imploring eyes. She asks, did I die?
Your mom has been dead for over five years. What is happening? Flashing before your eyes are all the good times. You are remembering sitting in your mom’ s lap, seeing her cheering at one of your soccer games as an 11 year old, dressed up at your wedding.
Your wonderful mother has returned! You don’t ask how or why, you are too overwhelmed. You jump forward to embrace her. You are overcome with joy. It is a cheerful, tearful, joyous moment. Come kids! You yell, come say hi to grandma! Honey, where are you? Mom is back!
Looking over your shoulder you notice you spouse passed out on the foyer floor and are in time to catch a glimpse of your kids running for the back door at top speed.
This topic came up in our house last week. A debate took place. Why I asked, would you run? It’s Grandma. Wouldn’t you be happy to see her? You would hurt her feelings if you ran away. Imagine the harrowing voyage and hard work it took to come back from the dead. Grandma comes back only to be ditched at the door? Wouldn’t you want to invite her in? Hug her and maybe later ask how she did it?
Nope. We are out here. She is dead. No good could come from this. The kids were insistent. My wife decided to check herself out the conversation. I am left to sit with my thoughts and ponder this farfetched reunion. We had been watching commercials on TV all week for a new show on this very topic. This sparked lively conversation and thoughts about death, resurrection and the afterlife. What would you do if someone you lost returned? Are you a runner or a hugger?
It’s interesting that some people find the resurrection of a loved one horrifying; others see it as a miracle. Is this simply a glass half full verses half empty outlook? To be fair over a lifetime we have seen many a gaggle of horror movies, TV shows and books about zombies, vampires and the undead. It always produces something unpleasant to the living folks. This must be why many people see the idea of a dead loved one at their door an inconvenience at best and an epic nightmare at worst. People have a lot of beliefs about what might happen after death.
A 2003 study by Ventura’s Barna Research Group shows that most people have retained surprisingly traditional views about life after death. Most Americans do not expect to experience Hell first-hand: just one-half of 1 percent expects to go to Hell upon their death. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) believe they will go to Heaven. One in 20 adults (5 percent) claim they will come back as another life form, while the same proportion contend they will simply cease to exist.
Clearly most think they will go to heaven. What is heaven like? I can’t imagine eternity without seeing a blue sky, a beach or a spring flower. Take a walk and observe what’s around you. We are indeed in paradise. Earth provides an array to dazzle all our senses, from the scent of wine, crash of waves, the touch of a loved one or the majesty of a sunset.
If earth is indeed heaven, you may find yourself visiting your grandkids’ front door someday in Laguna. I believe heaven is here on Earth and Laguna Beach is the Capitol. At least on sunny days where there is still a place to park.
Need to end it here. I hear a knock at the door.
Roderick Reed owns REEDesign Interiors in Laguna Beach. He lives in town with his wife Kathy and two sons Mason and Jack. http://roderickreed.com/.