Glimpses of Heaven
Imagine one day you decided to take up the battle of the bulge. The unsightly, soft, squishy extra pounds of fat you have been carrying around for the past ten to fifteen years finally drive you to do something. Back in your younger years, you were a runner. Gliding almost effortlessly over miles of sun warmed asphalt, natural endorphins giving you the feeling that all is right in the world. The stresses of marriage, children, and bills have kept you away from that feeling for years. Too many movies with extra butter popcorn, too many warm, ooey gooey brownies, and that super soft, cozy couch calling your name. Well, you have decided that now is the time for a change. Digging through the rear of your closet, you find your old trusty pair of running shoes. This will be great, you think to yourself as you dust them off, and grunt with effort while trying to lace them up. Odd, you don’t remember it being that hard to get them on, but back then your belly wasn’t in the way either.
With music blaring from tiny earbuds crammed into your ears, you are off. Heading down the road from your house. You have mapped out a two mile loop for yourself, figuring two miles would be plenty hard enough to start with. Every step is pure agony, your muscles, or lack there of, are screaming in protest. Struggling to take each ragged breath, you feel as if your chest is on fire. Pure will power is all that is forcing you forward. This running stuff is harder that you remembered. Only half of a mile has gone by, and you are already seeing stars from lack of oxygen. Suddenly there is the most intense, searing pain in your chest. You start to grab at your shirt, but the blackness is already closing in. Your body falls limp on the side of the gravely road. The last thing you see through your eyes is a crumpled soda can in the leaf strewn gutter. The blackness has you now, and you stop struggling against it.
The pain is gone now, you are looking at your lifeless body lying on the ground. How can this be? Are you flying? What is going on? No longer feeling any attachment to that pile of flesh below, you feel yourself being pulled upward. There is a tunnel of sorts you are traveling through. At the end of the tunnel is a blinding, luminous white light. When you reach this light, you are filled with strong emotions of such intense joy and happiness that you never want to leave this place. Looking around you can see people coming toward you. They are smiling and seem to be glowing at the same time. As they get closer you start to recognize some of the faces. Your favorite Grandfather that passed away when you were young is there. Your friend from school that was killed in a car accident is also there, smiling at you.
As you reach your hand out to touch them, you are suddenly pulled backwards. You are screaming no, no, I don’t want to go back. The light is getting further, and further away. You can hear someone yelling at you. They are asking you...