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Monday, January 05, 2004

Where Heaven Begins

I'm in the middle of reading Anne of the Island, the third book in the L. M. Montgomery series, and came across a meaningful passage, about the afterlife. It reminded me of C. S. Lewis, who said in The Great Divorce that if you go to heaven, in hindsight your time on earth will have been a beginning of your heaven, and if you go to hell, your time on earth a beginning of your hell. That makes sense, if you consider that heaven or hell is truly about grace, and living in the presence or absence of God.

In the book I'm reading now, a 19 year old girl is dying, who has lived a decent but frivolous life, and is now afraid of death because it will be a separation from all that is familiar. Anne has listened to her friend and is walking home thinking about their conversation:

"Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with the poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different -- something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."

With a new year opening, it seems like a good time to ponder that thought. May your new year be grace-filled, a beginning of your heaven.