How to Sneak Into Heaven Before You Die
Summer’s end signals a return to school and an end to the vacation season, which reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw some years ago: Stop vacations. Make where you live Paradise. To live out that ecological invitation could reduce the large carbon imprint of jet travel, while not causing your bank account to shrink and creating for you a marvelous life change.
Paradise, which many travel brochures promise you’ll experience, comes from the Old Persian Pairi-daeza for a walled garden of trees, flowers, pools and fountains that was attached to a royal palace. In Medieval times the Garden of Eden was known as Paradeisos and was considered after Adam’s fall to have ascended to heaven. To the dying thief on the cross next to his, Jesus promised him that very day he would join him in Paradise. Today that destination of heavenly delight is reserved in the next life for the righteous.
That bumper sticker encourages us not to wait until we die to enter Paradise, but today begin to remake wherever you live into it! Such a proposal is considered a silly fantasy for those stuck in a Purgatory of unhappiness, regrets and shattered dreams or anguishing in a Hell of anger, violence and hopelessness. And for those languishing in a drab Limbo of boredom and monotony it’s an impossible dream.
Regardless of where you live, begin transforming that place into Paradise. Such a work is not only achievable; it is God’s will for you! As Christians we pray, “Your Kingdom come”—so let that Kingdom be-come your residence. This sacred assignment doesn’t require that you remodel your house, only to alter your attitudes into those of peacefulness, affectionate caring, loving servanthood, instant pardon and devoted companionship. However, to have “heaven on earth” as your address demands a daily dedication. So upon awaking ask yourself, “Where am I?” If you answer “in Paradise,” then strive mightily to live there one day at a time.
Buddha said, “With our thoughts we make our world.” So remodel your thoughts into ones of paradisiacal delight in your surroundings and possessions—and you’ll find you reside in that kind of world! Reroute your daily wandering thoughts to those of the joyousness in being alive, the divine deliciousness of your meals, the luxurious peacefulness of sleep and the pleasures given you by your eyes and ears. In short, how magnificent it is to live in Paradise.
Then when you die you won’t go to heaven—you’ll already be there!