What is Heaven?

My son asked me what heaven was. 

I explained to him that some people believe that when we die, we go to a place where we are with everyone we love and where it is peaceful and everybody is happy. 

“I don’t believe that.”

He’s turning eight next month and deep in the process of creating his separate sense of self, mostly by asserting his disagreement and difference of opinion. It’s a miracle to watch.

“What do you believe then?” I asked.

“I think this is heaven,” he said.

“What, you mean like our life now?”

“Yeah, when we are alive. We are in heaven.”

Besides this being a romantic perspective and also heartwarming that my son would, at least in a moment not influenced by sugar or screentime, see his life as heaven – it struck me too as a profound possibility.

As I didn’t explain to my son, but we mostly know, heaven can also be considered a state of mind, a perspective or an attitude. For example, “the kingdom of heaven is within you”.

What he was suggesting though was not some phenomenological opportunity, some choice to see and experience our life as heaven because of the new meaning we made about ourselves and our lives. 

No. What my son so innocently offered was the idea that this world, this life, and all that is in it, is itself, ontologically and factually, the heaven long suggested to reside in the afterlife. 

What if, in fact, this is heaven?

What if our projections beyond death are a throwing of the familiar into the afar? 

It would be like rejecting the gifts we are offered for fear that by accepting them, we might lose them. 

How might your day go today if, indeed, this is heaven?

Loving us all, JPM