COLUMN: Don’t Mind the Mess – It all comes down to one question


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What does your Heaven look like?

I grew up hearing about pearly gates and streets of gold, but what if those kinds of things, as Shania Twain says, just don’t impress me much?

What if my Heaven has dirt roads, red barns, wheat fields and quaint little farmhouses with front porches, instead of mansions?

What if the banquet table that’s supposed to be waiting for me up there is loaded with Mennonite food prepared by my mom’s loving hands, instead of fine cuisine created by celestial chefs?

My arrival there plays out a little differently than some might imagine.

Anytime I’ve suffered a major loss or disappointment in my life, I’ve always said, “One day, I’m gonna have a lot of questions for God.”

So maybe this will be the gate to my Heaven. Not pillars fashioned from gold and pearls, but a small, comfy office, where I’ll meet with my Maker before I make my grand entrance into the Great Beyond.

Finally, a chance to ask Him all those burning questions.

One day, I’ll wake up facing a big, carved wooden door. I’ll turn the brass knob, and step into an inviting room lined with bookshelves. There’s a fire crackling in the corner, and beside the most overstuffed armchair I’ve ever seen, there’s a glass of red wine perched on a pretty little side table.

I sink into the chair, not sure I’ll ever be able to climb back out of it. The wine is so sweet, and unless I miss my guess, the music that softly drifts through the air sounds more like my favourite Fleetwood Mac song than a traditional hymn. The chair behind the antique wooden desk swivels, and I finally see His face. Amazingly, it’s a combination of absolutely everyone I ever loved.

The tender warmth of those eyes, the magic of that sweet smile… Yes! This is definitely how I always imagined Him.

“I’ve been waiting forever! And here you are!” He says.

Words fail me. There’s an instant connection, like my soul found its missing piece and I am whole. In His presence, I am home. Hands clasped under that beautiful chin, elbows on the desk, He leans forward, and says, “So. You have questions.”

I nervously sip my wine, as the jobs I’ve lost, the relationships that fell apart, the homes I gave up, and all the people who I think died much too soon scroll through my head. All the anger, all the pain, all the resentment. Where do I even begin?

I open my mouth and years of questions, all starting with why, pour from me in an endless stream, leaving me breathless. Then I stop and look at Him, bracing myself for the inevitable, “It was all for the greater good” sermon, but it never comes.

Nothing but that patient, soothing silence.

“Feel better?” He asks, concern in those eyes, matched with a tiny smile.

“I do. Now it’s time for you to answer.”

His expression grows a little more serious. “Alright. Let me respond with a question. If changing even one tiny thing would completely alter every event that followed – good and bad – and pretty much eliminate who you are right now, what would you change?”

It was a philosophical question I had pondered before, but coming from Him made it more possible. After a long mental struggle, I said, “I can’t choose a thing.”

“You are, and have always been, exactly where you needed to be. And now, there are dozens of people waiting for you at the supper table. I think they’re serving perogies

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