Yesterday as I was driving up the coast looking out at the ocean, which was spectacularly beautiful, I started thinking about God and the afterlife and all that jazz. And the ocean was blue and the sky was blue and the surfers were surfing (something I must learn to do) and as hard as I tried to imagine heaven, I could not help but think that right then I had to be driving through a little piece of it. I think this is it. How could it not be? I love the notion, the image, that my dad is up there in the great beyond tossing a football with Gerald Ford (something he actually did!) and having a grand old time drinking a beer with a beautiful woman he'd met in the Philipines during WW II. And he's young and he's vital and handsome and full of hope and "You're my gal, Dotty. Gonna love ya til the sun sets for the last time." And I would like to think that's possible but I honestly feel that's just a wonderful image in my tiny brain.
I can completely understand that if you are born into poverty or tragic circumstances, that you must hang on to the idea that there is something greater for you after this life. Because you believe in God and God would not let you suffer for eternity and if you suffer on earth a reward must be waiting because you are a good person and heaven is the gift for all you have suffered. But for people like me, who are born into what must be heaven, how can I expect anything more? It wouldn't be fair. Maybe I've lived before and this life is my reward.
But this must be heaven. I drove back at sunset. I stopped and got a vanilla chocolate Foster Freeze. I can do that. I saw people on surfboards with these beautiful kites pulling them along the ocean. I saw kids on bikes laughing and peddling. I saw dogs catching frisbees on the beach. I saw a homeless man smiling as he walked along the sand. I ate a chicken quesadilla. I can do that. I went to the atm and took out twenty dollars. And I still had another twenty I might take out on Thursday. I listened to The White Stripes and Cat Stevens. I can listen to anything I want to. I can dance when I want to dance. I can go to Vidiots and rent any movie ever made. (Except A Thousand Clowns which is not on DVD.) I can read a classic. I can read a comic book. I can call London or Baltimore. I can hug my son. Is that not heaven?
I close my eyes and in the hundred yards of my mind I picture my dad catching a lateral pass and racing past the twenty, the ten and TOUCHDOWN! Into the end zone for the winning points and they lift him on their shoulders and carry him around the stadium and his smile can be seen from end zone to end zone. And he looks up into the stands and he gives me a wink and I give him the thumbs up and The Crowd...Goes...Wild.
Just another day in paradise.