June 17, 2011

Friday Feature: My Favorite Thing I Read this Week and Why

Continuing our Friday series, Mom stops by to answer her favorite thing she read this week and why by higlighting Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo.
Since I was a little girl, I have been enamored by heaven . . . and hell. I mean you better know something about each. If I’m planning on a trip, I’m going to do a little research on where I’m going and weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Right? Well, heaven or hell gives me a lot to consider.
Ayn Rand once said, “When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is.” But I am more in tune with Carl Sandburg who stated, “Here is the difference between Dante, Milton, and me. They wrote about hell and never saw the place. I wrote about Chicago after looking the town over for years and years.”
Yep, that’s what I’m doing . . . checking out my options. Naturally I’ve looked at all the biblical accounts I can find. By Revelation, you are standing behind the man on the white horse, I promise you. The other venture is way too much tanning for me!
Putting all nonsense aside, there was one event in my life that truly made me want to seek out knowledge about heaven. In September 2007, my grandmother had an out-of-body experience, or that’s what the family calls it now, where she thought she saw the hallway to Heaven’s throne room.
When I visited her at the nursing home one day, my grandmother had the Scarlett O’Hara look of sheer joy on her face. Remember the scene where Rhett takes Scarlett in his arms and carries her up the staircase? Yes, it’s the morning after look. 
She vividly described going to a magnificent place full of colors, some we’ve never seen, and living pictures and chandeliers free-floating up and down the hallway. She became more and more animated as she told each detail of her trip. As her story ended, she grew quiet and distant, confessing she did not want to leave. She claimed she was sent back with a promise that she’d return. And return she did, one week later.
So began my trip planning. I’ve read countless books on accounts of heaven. My latest was Todd Burpo’s book Heaven is for Real. It’s about a three year old boy, Colton, who remembers going to heaven after a brief brush with death. As he begins to share his journey with his parents, who are more than bewildered, events line up with the truth–something happened to Colton during an emergency appendectomy. 
Looking at heaven through the eyes of a young boy's account is fascinating. I don’t want to give the storyline away, but it made me feel good about my decision to take the narrow road. The strangest part was his confirmation on how Jesus looks after seeing Akiane Kramarik’s painting of Christ. Akiane was under 10 years old when she painted “Prince of Peace”.  
Maybe there’s some truth in having child-like faith. "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Happy Friday! What is the best thing you've read this week?

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