Do you remember when you were floating inside your mother’s womb? Do you have a memory of your torturous journey out of her womb through the birth channel into this world? No—but the absence of those memories doesn’t mean you never experienced them. Is it possible you might have such a forgotten memory of Heaven?
While that is an irrational question, let’s tease a possibility out of a beautiful old legend. Once there were two eager parents awaiting the immanent birth of their child. Meanwhile in heaven, from among all the babies scheduled to go to earth, God selects a special child for that eager father and mother. The chosen child is carried to God who lovingly cradles the baby in his great arms and affectionately blesses the child. Then God calls an Archangel to step forward, and with all of heaven’s angels and saints watching, the Archangel bends over the child and firmly presses his thumb in the baby’s upper lip saying,“Forget!” To which God adds, “My dearly beloved child, as you depart for earth all your memories of the awesome beauties and delights of heaven have now been wiped clean. You have forgotten this is from where you have come, that here is where you are destined to return.”
This old and charming legend explains that small curved indentation in our upper lips we acquired from the memory-cleansing Archangel as we departed from heaven. Pause in reading this reflection and touch your finger to that small curled indention in your upper lip. Allow it symbolically to be a reminder from where you have come, and of your divinely designed final destination.
“Nice story!” say smiling realists. “But if heaven exists, is it a place with angels on puffy white clouds playing harps—no ball games, movies or shopping, just a nursing home in the sky where nothing happens but eternal rest?” No, scripture tells us what awaits after death: “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor has is it entered the human heart what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Steve Jobs, the genius creator of Apple products, died of cancer in the prime of his life. A friend said of him that Steve could see the future. He loved beautiful things, insisting that the iPhone and iPad be crafted as beautifully as possible. As cancer consumed his body, Steve retreated to his home and family in Palo Alto, California. Feeling his death looming, he called his sister Mona telling her the end was near and to come quickly. She did, and found Steve’s wife Laurene and his four children gathered at his bedside. Mona spoke of how Steve’s breathing became more and more labored, as arduous as if he were struggling to climb a high mountain. Just before Steve Jobs closed his eyes for the last time, he looked up and over those gathered around his bed, and saw something only he could see. And he cried out ecstatically: “Oh Wow. Oh Wow. Oh Wow.”