My Visit to Heaven

Cinderella having lost one of her glass slippers

Even though I know it’s very hard for me or anybody to believe all the stories you hear about interaction with heaven, after death experiences and trips to the other side, I’m going to go ahead and recount this experience, because I think it’s got an insight into what heaven is like that I haven’t heard elsewhere. Truthfully, I’m always interested in what people believe they saw or experienced when they have encounters with the other side, so I think others might be interested in what I saw and my experiences and impressions. It was a very brief visit, but startling.

 However, when near death experiencers, psychics and mediums try to create their own new religion based on their experiences, I feel they’ve gone too far. Their perception of “how it all works” seems inevitably to reflect their own personality expressed within the limits of their understanding. But, having said that, I do think most of our current religions could do with a bit of remodeling.

This visit to heaven was a dream. But, in the dream I was in a stunningly lovely world and was very happy. I was walking beside what must have been a canal, because it had neatly even banks and was a straight waterway. The canal and its wide walkway were lined with leafy trees. The wide avenue was bordered by Tudor houses with their peaked rooves and crisscrossed black timbers on white.

I was walking along, quite happily, and was suddenly struck with a new thought: no wonder dreams seem so faint and ephemeral, they could never be as real as real life, meaning that the life I was in by the canal was real life. I was completely at home in this world and though I can’t remember specifically in what ways it was so much more real than what I thought of as dreams, which would be this life on earth, I had no doubt that it was THE real world.

It is very difficult to characterize how that world was so much more real. For a long time after I had the dream, the very feeling of that real world permeated my mind and made me feel as happy as I had felt there. But I tried to put into words what I had felt so that I could remember it, when the sense memory had faded.

Here is what I came up with. I did not perceive any heightened sensation of color, as so many do who have near death experiences. The one word I’d use to describe the nature of that heavenly reality would be that it was very rich. Everything was richer in content than what I know in this life. The one example I remember is that I was walking by one of the trees and knew that it was a Quince tree. Observing that Quince tree was a very vivid experience, because in some way everything about the Quince tree was knowable without effort. It was as if knowledge, even chemistry and math, were conveyed like music. I’m elaborating, but I believe the richness of the reality not only included science, but history, poetry, art, mythology, all the richness of that tree. I’m sure that’s not precisely how it works, but that was my impression.

Curiously, I knew nothing about the Quince before this dream. I had certainly encountered the word and knew it was a fruit, but beyond that I never thought of it. Perhaps it sounded English, because I certainly seemed to be in an English style setting. Later, researching the Quince, it turned out to be a fruit that is older than the apple, associated with the goddess Aphrodite and marriage, which turned out to be relevant to the end of the visit to heaven.

Once I woke up, this world seemed strangely drab. I have always loved art and felt excited by the beauty I saw all around me, but for months afterward, nothing seemed worth looking at. This world was a bit of a letdown. For me, this was quite adequate proof that I had been in the real world, because I couldn’t see this world with the same eyes I’d always seen it with.

I walked on and the rest of my dream visit to the real world of heaven was a personal message, which I didn’t understand at the time, but I think I do now. As I was walking, some very kindly people, who I knew were trying to help me came around. I didn’t see them, but I felt their presence. And one of them, as gently as possible, said to me, “Most people wear two shoes.” I looked down and saw that in fact I was wearing only one shoe. I was quite embarrassed and very grateful that they had been so tactful in mentioning this to me.

To try to be walking around in the world wearing only one shoe and not realizing it, made me feel quite stupid. It’s like going to work in your slippers by accident, but at least you’d have two on. After they left, I suddenly thought, but of course, that’s why it’s been so difficult to walk. I’ve only got one shoe on. That realization seemed to explain so much. I felt that things would be better now. How much easier it would be to walk. Walking was not nearly as challenging as it had seemed when I only had one shoe on. I immediately went and put on another pair of shoes, white espadrilles.

When I woke up and thought more about this dream and what it was trying to tell me with the shoes, I knew that shoes usually relate to sexual relations and marriage: a pair of shoes, as in the whole Cinderella theme of the man and woman knowing each other by the fit of a glass slipper.

Since this dream happened long before I knew that Tom had a severe mental problem causing him to in some ways to be a divided person, I interpreted the dream to mean perhaps that I would marry another man: I had one husband who fit me, and I would find another after a period of chastity, indicated by the white shoes. Although that didn’t seem right, since most people don’t have two husbands.

Now, I am convinced that they brought me to heaven for a visit to tell me not to be embarrassed by what happened to me, but to know that I had been walking through life with only one shoe on and that is why everything seemed so difficult. When you think of it, wearing one shoe is actually more of an impediment than going barefoot.

I also think they were giving me assurance that my life was going to be easier, now. That so many of my difficulties were the result of my difficult marriage, not life itself.

Whether it is a good idea to interact with the spirit world is open to question. I have been shown that I am protected, which makes me feel safe, while at the same time making me more cautious, because if you need to be protected, there is something dangerous lurking out there. But, the messages I have received so far have been helpful. I believe I was given these messages because I was in a unique position to raise the issue of mental health, the soul and the reality of the afterlife.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am definitely a Christian, but of the Julian of Norwich variety, which many people scorn as New Age Feel good nonsense, because she saw wrath only in man, not in God. Having grown up in a tragically dysfunctional family who were self-deceiving and self-destructive, I learned to understand that some people cannot escape their mental prisons and do great harm, especially to their own families. I still love my parents and have forgiven them. I cannot believe I’m better or smarter than God, so I’m sure he, who made my parents and gave them their sad lives, also loves and forgives them. I don’t see wrath in God, either.

This brings me to my conclusion. My perception of heaven was a place rich with knowledge, which would exactly suit me, because my greatest strength as a person is understanding the world. Why I should be so compelled to try to understand is a mystery, because it hasn’t made me happy. But, I have to try to accept that we will never understand why misery is so pervasive in human life. As Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

This is the strangest afterlife story you will ever read. A man with a divided soul, one in hell and one in heaven, came back to confess the truth and expose how the devil ruined his life. A must read for anyone struggling to reconcile sin and mental illness.


Popular Posts