I've been thinking about heaven a lot lately. I can't exactly give you a reason for the sudden appearance of those thoughts but, as is my nature, I must try to figure things out. So, I first and foremost needed to determine, at least to my own satisfaction, whether there was actually something called heaven. Did it exist?
I thought about it for some time, and I think I have resolved the issue, at least I have come up with a possibility that makes some sense to me. Now I know that I think differently than many folks so the following may not be your "cup of tea," but I ask that you at least give it some thought, and "thought" is the key word.
I guess we all have our own understanding or beliefs about how this crazy world we live in works. I know I do. As I consider the world around me, there is one thing that has always been clear to me. I cannot accept any notion that our thoughts just wither away and die in our minds.
I have always believed that our thoughts live on and are somewhere out there, somewhere in this vast universe just waiting to be heard by someone or something. It's just a matter of unlocking the key to bringing those thoughts alive.
Just like everything in my life, I had to determine if my hypothesis regarding thoughts, my thoughts theory, if you will, was possible. So, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about it. I know that thoughts are born in the brain and we as humans know so very little about that region of our bodies. We do, however, know a few things.
Complex chemical and electrical signals generated in the cerebrum area of the brain enable and control several things, including judgment, problem-solving, learning and, yes, thinking. Okay, that's it, I thought to myself.
Our physicians can determine and even measure the electrical activity within our brain; therefore, how far must science be from learning what those unspoken electrical messages are? If those thoughts are electrically generated messages, then they can move through space.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft left this place we call home, earth, in 1977 and has traveled throughout our solar system for some 45 years. It has now traveled some 14.6 billion miles, yet it still sends to earth its observations. Those observations, those thoughts, travel through the vast emptiness of space and are received by those still on this blue planet. Thusly, so too can our thoughts forever travel throughout space and time.
Much like the signal, the radio waves projected from the Voyager 1 or a radio station's antenna, my thoughts will surely race across the universe. Those thoughts will be impervious to time and space, and they will never know an end. They will live forever.
Thoughts of the cool grass beneath my feet and the smell of spring flowers will find their way to someone else's thoughts of a white covering of winter snow. Our memories will be forever shared.
My thoughts of my marriage to Robin are out there in the vast space of the universe. To my way of thinking, it is far more than plausible to think that her thoughts are still out there, and they share memories with mine.
A warm embrace is shared with another's thoughts when the two find each other. My memories of warm summer days and the long hours spent looking into the blueish sky may seem to mirror the memories of someone else.
There can be no end to the moments when our thoughts will be together. Our thoughts will become intertwined with those of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on and so on. The thoughts of those who came before us and have long since passed on are still out there just waiting to greet and embrace our memories.
All those memories turned into thoughts of my son David now pass from one great and empty expanse to another. As they move closer and closer to one another, there will come a moment in time when they find each other. It will be during that moment and forever more that they will live together and share thoughts.
Try as it may, the Sun that once brightened the sky cannot push aside the dark clouds of winter. The sky is grey and, although the hour is midday, it appears as though it might be late evening. As I sit here writing to you, I look through the hazy window with small bits of ice nestled in its corners and gaze upon the midwinter's white comforter of snow that covers the ground. The depths of the long cold winter appear to have no end, no end at all.
These are the moments when my thoughts pass to my fingers. It is then that the sounds of the keys on the keyboard being struck can be heard as I transfer those thoughts into written words that appear on the computer monitor. However, my mind is somewhere else, somewhere far off.
Maybe, just maybe, there will come a moment when I'm thinking about you and, maybe, in that glorious moment, you may be thinking of me. Then, if my belief can come true, our thoughts will find each other and once intertwined become part of something miraculous and eternal.
Can this be heaven? Is heaven really a place or is it everywhere? Can it be that although our mortal and fragile bodies may perish, our thoughts and memories go on forever? Suppose, if only for a moment, that our thoughts live with the thoughts of everyone who has ever lived, and that existence is really the beautiful and eternal place called heaven.
I believe that, after typing these final few words, I can finally close my eyes and fall asleep. My conclusion is that heaven is real but it's not a place; it's everywhere. Heaven is the entirety of everything I know and can imagine.
My thoughts and memories, those inner qualities that differentiate me from you are everywhere. So too are everyone's who ever lived, including those whom I miss so very much. I might even call those qualities my soul. If I'm even close to being right, well, I can live with that final thought.
Stan Fine is a retired police officer and Verizon Security Department investigator who, after retiring in 2006, moved from Tampa, Fla., to Noel. Stan's connection to Noel can be traced back to his grandparents, who lived most of their lives there. Stan began writing after the passing of his wife Robin in 2013. The opinions expressed are those of the author.