By Joe Rector

Am I the only one, or do most folks who reach senior citizenship at some point begin to wonder about what lies beyond this life? Well, I have been thinking about it, even though, thankfully, I am in good health at this point in time.

I do believe that life does exist after this one, and I hope that I am able to enjoy it. However, the stories that I heard as a child left me thinking that heaven wasn’t the most wonderful place to spend eternity. I’m not keen on sitting around all day singing hymns. My homes throughout life have been modest ones, so mansions don’t interest me much either. Streets of gold are fine, but they are of no value in a place where all is provided.

Not intending to show disrespect for anyone else’s view on heaven, I’ll describe what I hope is waiting for me when I get there. First, I look forward to uncloudy days. Temperatures will be warm enough to swim every day, and no one will have to worry about sunburns. We’ll all have perfect tans. At the same time, occasional summer showers will spring up. That gives everyone the opportunity to sit on a front porch or screened porch and listen to the rainfall through the trees or on a tin roof. Snow will fall so that we can sit by fires and drink hot chocolate as we watch it pile up, but the cold won’t bother us.

I know that it is said there will be no more hunger or thirst. I hope that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to enjoy food or drinks. I’d like to think that I can spend eternity eating shrimp or my mother’s butterscotch pie. Fried chicken might be the centerpiece of a meal with a big pitcher of sweet tea to wash it down. I want foods to taste good like they did when I was a child, and I want to eat them without having to take a pill to keep my stomach from churning.

In heaven, I hope that I’ll live in the same places that I have on this earth. I have spent most of my time either in my parents’ home or the one Amy and I built in 1978. Yes, that also means that I also will spend time sitting by the pool in the back yard. I love my yard and won’t mind mowing the grass when it grows.

When I reach the Pearly Gates, I want to find family members, and I pray that the reunion is exuberant. I’d like to think we will know each other and will be able to spend the time talking and laughing and enjoying just being together. The thought that I wouldn’t know my parents or brothers is too disturbing to consider. In some future time, I want to be with Amy, my children, and my grandson, and I want them to know Mother and Daddy and my older brother Dal.

Along those same lines, I pray that pets will be there in heaven. We humans find a bit of the perfect and sublime in pets, and they should be present with us in our journey into the kingdom of heaven. I want to have Snoop jump in my arms, and I want Sadie to wag her tail in that circular motion as she waits for me to pet her.

I hope I’ll be able to ask God some questions that have been on my mind for a long time. Knowing the answers will help my understanding of what life is all about. Heaven is a place where most of us hope to spend our “foreverness.” With some of these things I’ve mentioned, it will be a good place to roll around all day.