The Good Stuff, Or Something Close To It
by Senator Brett
If you happen to be still reading this book then trust me when I say that it is not lost on me that the general tone of its conversation may come across as somewhat negative, maybe even a little condemning. While I can’t answer for my writing partner I can tell you that it would be a lie if I didn’t own up to the fact that some of my thoughts and observations are definitely born in the miry mess of frustration and maybe even a little anger. While I may try my best to be objective on most matters it would be wrong of me to say that my own personal experiences have not found their way to creep into the conversation.
It is a very rare thing when humans can tackle a subject matter and not view it through the prism of personal experience. And, I will honestly tell you that I am no such human being.
So, I know that we all might need a little affirmation right about now… at least I know that I do. The following section is an essay that I wrote when I was nineteen-years-old. (Yeah, I know… that was a long time ago!) And, I’m not going to change much of it, save for some grammatical work. There’s something beyond nostalgic for me when it comes to leaving it as close to its original form, maybe because it reminds me of who I once was and it helps guide me back to those days when things seemed somewhat more simple. I won’t pretend that I don’t miss those days at times.
I believe we all do miss those times, at some point, for whatever reason.
So, this is my reminder.
Angels & Eight-Year-Olds
When people ask me if I believe in angels I always answer with a definite “Yes.” when people ask me if I believe in a place called Heaven it is the same response. And, most of the time, those questions are generally followed by yet another question. The eternal question of “Why?” And, the answer I give to that question is not nearly as complex as you might think.
You know, I wish it were. I wish I had this long, carefully thought out, well educated answer to give to people. But, the truth is that I don’t. I haven’t studied all the religions of the world. I haven’t been exposed to all the modern philosophies. But, I do have my reasons. And, they are valid, at least to me. There is no deep personal theology involved here, or any God-given Divine revelations. I have not pondered this issue for hours at a time hoping to conjugate some new ideology. And, I’m not, nor do I plan to be, the type of person that would accept someone else’s thoughts on this issue just because they have a doctorate, or because they have written some book on the matter. Or, for that case, I am not willing to readily believe anyone else’s opinion on this constituent just because they spent some time studying philosophy, or because they were top of their class at seminary. Issues like this are more personal. Spiritual beliefs are products that are best made from the heart. And, this is what my heart tells me is Heaven, and angels. It’s really rather simple.
Her name is Adrian. She is eight-years-old. She lives down the street. And, she is my niece.
She looks like everything that you might think an angel should look like. She has long, bright blonde hair and soft fair skin. She has these nice amber eyes that light up with fire when she smiles. She has this small petite body that appears so innocent that you are almost scared to touch her for fear that she might break. She is the very image of all that I consider good, kind and pure.
But, it is more than her outer appearance that makes her angelic to me. It’s the things that she does. Like the way she laughs and giggles with her friends. it’s the way she loves horses, and her mother, and her father, and, well… even me. It’s the way she sighs when she holds a baby. Or, the way she cries when she is hurt or sad. it’s a lot of little things that she does. Like the way she throws her arms around my neck when she hasn’t seen me in a while. Or, the way she hides in closets when she sees me coming. And, some of you might not understand this, but if you have raised kids of your own, and watched them grow, and wished to yourself that they would always be your little baby, well, you’ll understand. It’s her quiet voice that whispers, “I love you” and “Goodnight” at the end of the day. And, it’s that same sweet voice that awakens you that lets you know that no matter what happens that day everything is going to be all right. It’s the little things that she does, day in and day out, which make her angelic to me.
Now, I understand, of course, that she is not a real angel. All the angels that I have ever seen in paintings have wings and halos. She has neither. And, I’ve never seen her fly. And, I imagine she is not too gifted playing a harp. So… no… she is not a real angel. But, she is my kind of angel. The kind I can see, and feel, and touch. The kind I can pick up and hold close. And, I think that those are the best kinds of angels.
As far as my thoughts about a place called Heaven? Well, that’s a little harder to explain. I know the Bible states that there exist this place where streets are gold and where lakes are made of glass. Where everyone lives in a utopian society where there can be no famine, no sickness, and no death. And, I also know that there are other religions out there that believe in a higher place. A destination somewhere in the afterlife that betters than the one we presently know. And, that’s fine with me. I think it’s good to believe that. And, i sincerely hope that it is true. I hope that what we have here is all that there is. I desperately wish that there is something out there beyond ourselves that is bigger, and brighter, and better than what we see now. But… if there isn’t? Well, I’m okay with that too. Because I found heaven right here… right here in my own little world. There is such a place.
It was my niece, her and me out in the woods on some lonely trail. Nothing grand or spectacular took place. It was just us walking hand-in-hand, picking flowers, and talking. And, we didn’t talk about major issues, just everyday stuff that happens in the life of an eight-year-old. I don’t even remember all that we talked about. and, to be honest, it doesn’t matter to me. Those conversations are great… not because they are of large magnitude, but they are great for the simple fact that they happen at all. And, so, that was it. That was my idea of Heaven. That was my glimpse of a better place. You may disagree. Your idea of Heaven might be totally dissimilar to mine. And, again, that’s fine with me too. But, that was my slice of Utopia.
No. The streets weren’t made of gold. And, the lakes weren’t made of glass either. But, every one of those minutes that I spent out there with her were golden. And, for a brief time, everything in my life was that much easier to see. And, that’s all I needed. If there is nothing more out there after this temporary stay of breath… I’ll manage along just fine as long as I have moments like that to accompany me along the journey.
Do I believe in angels? Do I believe in a place called Heaven? Yes. I do. Her name is Adrian. She is eight-years-old. She lives down the street. And, she is my niece.
May you find the same.
Homework For The Soul
Years and years have passed since the writing of that essay, and that little eight-year-old girl isn’t exactly little anymore. She’s now fully grown with a family of her own. And she and her husband have their very own little slices of Heaven running around. Life can be good that way.
But, life can also be tough sometimes. And, sometimes it is hard to see the little slice of Heaven that we get here when so much of our shit is in our way. Sometimes it is the shit that the world puts on us, and sometimes it is the shit that we put on ourselves, but no matter how it gets there, or even why it gets there, it’s still shit. And, shit has a way of making Heaven seem very, very far away.
As of this writing… I don’t see Heaven very clearly. And, I know that I’m not alone in this. There are others. You may be one of them.
So… I have some homework for you.
Sit down and write out the thing that best represents your version of Heaven On Earth. It can be from the past, it can be from right now, and it can even be what you hope for the future. But, write it out. And, then read it, and re-read it. Remind yourself that there once was something that you could hold onto that represented your hopes and dreams. Remind yourself that there are things in this cruel world that hold the best of what we hope to be. Hold fast to those things that you once called “dear” and hold close to those things that carry with them your “best of all things possible.”
And, if you are lucky, maybe you have the opportunity to share that with others, perhaps even the people that bring that into your life.
And, who knows? Maybe that will stir up something in them and cause them to do the same unto others, and by the end of it all there might be little slices of Heaven popping up in all sorts of places for all sorts of people.
And, believe me, this world could use all the little slices of Heaven that it can get.