By Joe Rector

Last Sunday, our church celebrated All Saints Day. It’s a time to remember those who have passed over the last year. The minister did a good job of talking about those individuals, and he suggested that we all are saints in the making. I don’t necessarily agree that I’m a saint, and plenty of folks might quickly tell you that I’m closer to the devil’s minion. Still, the service set me to thinking about just what life on the other side is like.

Some folks believe that our eternity will be spent singing hymns and worshiping God. They think that means attending a never-ending church service. I might like singing some of the old hymns; they’ve always been special to me, and other folks hum or sing them as they go about their daily routines. However, I’m not so sure how appealing church services would be. Would many of the folks there nod off or fiddle with the same kinds of things they now do on Sunday mornings?

I’m hoping, first, that I make it to heaven when my days are over. If I do, it will be through the grace of a loving God who knows all my faults, sins, and shortcomings, but who loves me in spite of them and who shrugs them off. I feel certain that Heaven would offer the overflowing contentment that comes by being in the presence of God and enjoying an eternal existence.

I have some questions that I want to ask God when I arrive. On so many occasions, life has presented problems and disappointments and confusion. I would like to sit down with Him and listen to His explanations about why things worked as they did. No, I’m not about to argue with the good lord, but I just want to understand the how and why of things that occurred during my time on Earth.

Arriving in heaven, I would hope to see those folks who have been so special in my life. It would be wonderful to sit at the kitchen table with my mother, dad, and brother. A pot of coffee could be brewing on the stove, and we could share time just being together.

I’d also like to meet my in-laws, as well as relatives. At the same time, I’d like to spend time with some of my heroes in life, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robin Williams, Dan Fogelberg, and Ray Charles. And yes, I’d like to spend a long time with Jesus and listen to him. We all could sing some songs, not necessarily hymns but ones that bring happiness and spark good memories, tell jokes, and hold major discussions on topics.

Many of us will probably will be surprised at the folks who are present in heaven. We’ve all passed judgments on people and decided they weren’t wortha dime and were “going to hell in a hand basket.”  I’m pretty sure that God is much more forgiving than we are and will pour His grace and mercy on those who most need it. It stands to reason that He is much better at judging than we are, so I’m prepared to be surprised at who’s there. At the same time, my presence will also stun plenty of people there.

To be honest, I hope I make it to heaven, but I’m not in a big hurry to get there. I want to spend as much time on this planet with the ones whom I love. The line to heaven is only one that I will gladly allow anyone to cut in front of me. The best way to give praise right now is to live each day fully and to enjoy being in the presence of God in this world that He has created for us all. That is good enough for me; I hope I see you and you see me in a wonderful place after this life is over.